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3,3'-Diindolylmethane Suppresses Adipogenesis Using AMPKα-Dependent Mechanism in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and Caenorhabditis elegans.


3,3'-diindolylmethane is a major in vivo metabolite of indole-3-carbinol, a bioactive compound found in cruciferous vegetables. Although 3,3'-diindolylmethane has been implicated to possess antitumorigenic and anti-inflammatory properties, the effect of 3,3'-diindolylmethane on adipogenesis has not been explored previously. Thus, the present study was conducted to determine if 3,3'-diindolylmethane affects adipogenesis using 3T3-L1 adipocytes and Caenorhabditis elegans. Treatment of 3,3'-diindolylmethane significantly reduced fat accumulation without affecting viability in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. 3,3'-diindolylmethane suppressed expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein α (C/EBPα), fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), and perilipin. In addition, 3,3'-diindolylmethane activated AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα), which subsequently inactivated acetyl CoA carboxylase (ACC), resulting in reduced fat accumulation. These observations were further confirmed in C. elegans as treatment with 3,3'-diindolylmethane significantly reduced body fat accumulation, which was partly associated with aak-1, but not aak-2, orthologs of AMPKα catalytic subunits α1 and α2, respectively. The current results demonstrate that 3,3'-diindolylmethane, a biologically active metabolite of indole-3-carbinol, may prevent adipogenesis through the AMPKα-dependent pathway.