We investigated the effects of 6-gingerol ((S)-5-hydroxy-1-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-3-decanone) on the inhibition of rosiglitazone (RGZ)-induced adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. The morphological changes were photographed based on staining lipid accumulation by Oil-Red O in RGZ (1 µmol/l)-treated 3T3-L1 cells without or with various concentrations of 6-gingerol on differentiation day 8. Quantitation of triglycerides content was performed in cells on day 8 after differentiation induction. Differentiated cells were lysed to detect mRNA and protein levels of adipocyte-specific transcription factors by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis, respectively. 6-gingerol (50 µmol/l) effectively suppressed oil droplet accumulation and reduced the sizes of the droplets in RGZ-induced adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells. The triglyceride accumulation induced by RGZ in differentiated 3T3-L1 cells was also reduced by 6-gingerol (50 µmol/l). Treatment of differentiated 3T3-L1 cells with 6-gingerol (50 µmol/l) antagonized RGZ-induced gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ and CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein α. Additionally, the increased levels of mRNA and protein in adipocyte-specific fatty acid binding protein 4 and fatty acid synthase induced by RGZ in 3T3-L1 cells were decreased upon treatment with 6-gingerol. Our data suggests that 6-gingerol may be beneficial in obesity, by reducing adipogenesis partly through the down-regulating PPARγ activity. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.