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Suppression of fatty acid synthase, differentiation and lipid accumulation in adipocytes by curcumin

Abstract

Curcumin is a well-known component of the cook seasoning and traditional herb turmeric (Curcuma longa), which has been reported to prevent obesity. However, the mechanism still remains to be determined. In this study, curcumin is found to be an effective inhibitor of fatty acid synthase (FAS), and its effects on adipocytes are further evaluated. Curcumin shows both fast-binding and slow-binding inhibitions to FAS. Curcumin inhibits FAS with an IC50 value of 26.8 μM, noncompetitively with respect to NADPH, and partially competitively against both substrates acetyl-CoA and malonyl-CoA. This suggests that the malonyl/acetyl transferase domain of FAS possibly is the main target of curcumin. The time-dependent inactivation shows that curcumin inactivates FAS with two-step irreversible inhibition, a specific reversible binding followed by an irreversible modification by curcumin. Like other classic FAS inhibitors, curcumin prevents the differentiation of 3T3–L1 cells, and thus represses lipid accumulation. In the meantime, curcumin decreases the expression of FAS, down-regulates the mRNA level of PPARγ and CD36 during adipocyte differentiation. Curcumin is reported here as a novel FAS inhibitor, and it suppresses adipocyte differentiation and lipid accumulation, which is associated with its inhibition of FAS. Hence, curcumin is considered to be having potential application in the prevention of obesity.

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Acknowledgment

This study was supported by Grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China No. 30670455 and No. 30572252.

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Correspondence to Wei-Xi Tian.

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Zhao, J., Sun, XB., Ye, F. et al. Suppression of fatty acid synthase, differentiation and lipid accumulation in adipocytes by curcumin. Mol Cell Biochem 351, 19–28 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11010-010-0707-z

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Keywords

  • Curcumin
  • Fatty acid synthase
  • Inhibitor
  • Lipid accumulation
  • Adipocyte differentiation