Cells. 2020 Nov 7;9(11):2433. doi: 10.3390/cells9112433.

Cécilia Colson 1, Pierre-Louis Batrow 1, Nadine Gautier 1, Nathalie Rochet 1, Gérard Ailhaud 1, Franck Peiretti 2, Ez-Zoubir Amri 1


1Université Côte d’Azur, CNRS, Inserm, iBV, 06103 Nice, France.
2Aix Marseille Université, INSERM, INRAE, C2VN, 13007 Marseille, France.


Thermogenic brown and brite adipocytes convert chemical energy from nutrients into heat. Therapeutics that regulate brown adipocyte recruitment and activity represent interesting strategies to control fat mass such as in obesity or cachexia. The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) family plays key roles in the maintenance of adipose tissue and in the regulation of thermogenic activity. Activation of these receptors induce browning of white adipocyte. The purpose of this work was to characterize the role of carnosic acid (CA), a compound used in traditional medicine, in the control of brown/brite adipocyte formation and function. We used human multipotent adipose-derived stem (hMADS) cells differentiated into white or brite adipocytes. The expression of key marker genes was determined using RT-qPCR and western blotting. We show here that CA inhibits the browning of white adipocytes and favors decreased gene expression of thermogenic markers. CA treatment does not affect β-adrenergic response. Importantly, the effects of CA are fully reversible. We used transactivation assays to show that CA has a PPARα/γ antagonistic action. Our data pinpoint CA as a drug able to control PPAR activity through an antagonistic effect. These observations shed some light on the development of natural PPAR antagonists and their potential effects on thermogenic response.


PMID: 33171828
DOI: 10.3390/cells9112433