(-)-Catechin promotes adipocyte differentiation in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells through PPARγ transactivation

Dong Wook Shin, Su Nam Kim, Sang Min Lee, Woojung Lee, Min Jeong Song, Sun Mi Park, Tae Ryong Lee, Joo Hyun Baik, Han Kon Kim, Jeong Ho Hong, Minsoo Noh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

97 Citations (Scopus)


Green tea intake has been shown to confer various health benefits to patients suffering from metabolic disorders. Here, we studied the effect of several major green tea polyphenols on adipocyte differentiation in human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells (hBM-MSCs) and compared it to the effect of representative antidiabetic drugs. (-)-Catechin was the most potent of the eight green tea polyphenols evaluated in promoting adipocyte differentiation in hBM-MSCs, and this effect was dose-dependent. (-)-Catechin increased the mRNA levels of various adipogenic markers, such as adiponectin, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), FABP4, and LPL, as measured during adipocyte differentiation in hBM-MSCs. In addition, (-)-catechin upregulated the secretion of adiponectin in hBM-MSC culture. Using a reporter gene assay and a competitive ligand binding study, (-)-catechin also significantly activated PPARγ in a dose-dependent fashion; however, (+)-catechin, the enantiomer of (-)-catechin, was not effective as a PPARγ agonist, which seems to imply that the effect of (-)-catechin on PPARγ is stereospecific. In conclusion, our data suggest that (-)-catechin promotes adipocyte differentiation and increased sensitivity to insulin in part by direct activation of PPARγ, which could be at the basis of the observed pharmacological benefits of green tea intake in reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-133
Number of pages9
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Jan 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was partly supported by a Korea Research Foundation Grant attributed by the Korea government (MOEHRD) (KRF-C00239), by the Research Program for New Drug Target Discovery (M10748000286-07N4800-28610), and by a grant from the Ministry of Science & Technology, South Korea.


  • (-)-Catechin
  • Adipocyte differentiation
  • Human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells
  • PPARγ
  • green tea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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