Objectives: Tanshinone I is a bioactive constituent in Salvia miltiorrhiza. At present, the anti-obesity effect and mechanism of tanshinone I are not fully understood. Here we investigated the effect of tanshinone I on lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and zebrafish.
Methods: Lipid accumulation and triglyceride (TG) content in 3T3-L1 cells were determined by Oil Red O staining and AdipoRed assay, respectively. The expression and phosphorylation levels of adipogenic/lipogenic proteins in 3T3-L1 cells were evaluated by Western blotting. The messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of adipogenic/lipogenic markers and leptin in 3T3-L1 cells were measured by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Lipid accumulation in zebrafish was assessed by LipidGreen2 staining.
Results: Tanshinone I at 5 μM largely blocked lipid accumulation and reduced TG content in differentiating 3T3-L1 cells. Furthermore, tanshinone I decreased the expression of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-α (C/EBP-α), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ (PPAR-γ), fatty acid synthase (FAS), acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC), and perilipin A but also the phosphorylation of signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT-3) in differentiating 3T3-L1 cells. In addition, tanshinone I increased the phosphorylation of adenosine 3’,5’-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) while decreased the intracellular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) content with no change in the phosphorylation and expression of liver kinase-B1 in differentiating 3T3-L1 cells. Importantly, tanshinone I also reduced the extent of lipid deposit formation in developing zebrafish.
Conclusions: These findings demonstrate that tanshinone I has strong anti-adipogenic effects on 3T3-L1 cells and reduces adiposity in zebrafish, and these anti-adipogenic effect in 3T3-L1 cells are mediated through control of C/EBP-α, PPAR-γ, STAT-3, FAS, ACC, perilipin A, and AMPK.