Cinnamon induces browning in subcutaneous adipocytes

Hiu Yee Kwan*, Jiahui Wu, Tao Su, Xiao-Juan Chao, Bin Liu, Xiuqiong Fu, Chi Leung Chan, Rebecca Hiu Ying Lau, Anfernee Kai Wing Tse, Quan Bin Han, Wang Fun Fong, Zhi-ling Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Browning is the process of increasing the number of brite cells, which helps to increase energy expenditure and reduce obesity. Consumption of natural and non-toxic herbal extracts that possess the browning effect is an attractive anti-obesity strategy. In this study, we examined the browning effect of cinnamon extract. We found that cinnamon extract (CE) induced typical brown adipocyte multiocular phenotype in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The treatment also increased brown adipocytes markers and reduced white adipocytes markers in the 3T3-L1 adipocytes. In ex vivo studies, we found that CE increased brown adipocytes markers in the subcutaneous adipocytes isolated from db/db mice and diet-induced obesity (DIO) mice. However, CE did not significantly affect UCP1 expression in the adipocytes isolated from perinephric adipose tissue and epididymal adipose tissue. β3-adernergic receptor (β3-AR) antagonist reduced the CE-enhanced UCP1 expression, suggesting an involvement of the β3-AR activity. Oral administration of CE significantly increased UCP1 expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissue in vivo and reduced the body weight of the DIO mice. Taken together, our data suggest that CE has a browning effect in subcutaneous adipocytes. Our study suggests a natural non-toxic herbal remedy to reduce obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2447
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Early online date26 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

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