Palmitoyl lactic acid induces adipogenesis and a brown fat-like phenotype in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes

Yuka Unno*, Hirona Yamamoto, Shuto Takatsuki, Yoshinori Sato, Takefumi Kuranaga, Kazunaga Yazawa, Yasuo Ono, Toshiyuki Wakimoto

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Brown adipose tissue is specialized to generate heat by dissipating chemical energy and may provide novel strategies for obesity treatment in humans. Recently, advances in understanding the pharmacological and dietary agents that contribute to the browning of white adipose tissue have been made to alleviate obesity by promoting energy expenditure. Krill oil is widely used as a health supplement in humans. In this study, the components from krill oil that promote adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 cells were screened to reveal palmitoyl lactic acid (PLA) as a promoter of adipogenesis. The PLA-induced adipocytes contained large number of small lipid droplets. Moreover, similar to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)γ agonists, pioglitazone and rosiglitazone, PLA significantly enhances adipogenesis in the presence of dexamethasone compared with PLA alone. Treatment with PLA causes a brown fat-like phenotype in 3T3-L1 cells by enhanced expression of various brown/beige cell-specific genes, such as PR domain containing 16 (Prdm16) and peroxisome proliferative activated receptor, gamma, coactivator 1 alpha (Pgc1a), as well as adiponectin gene. The expression profile of the brown/beige cell-specific genes induced by PLA was similar to that of the PPARγ agonist in 3T3-L1 cells. Our findings suggest that PLA induces a brown fat-like phenotype and, thus, likely has therapeutic potential in treating obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)772-782
Number of pages11
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1


  • Adipogenesis
  • Beige
  • Krill oil
  • Palmitoyl lactic acid
  • PPARγ agonist
  • PRDM16

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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