Reactive oxygen species mediate adipocyte differentiation in mesenchymal stem cells

Yasunari Kanda, Takashi Hinata, Sang Won Kang, Yasuhiro Watanabe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


Aims: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSC) have the potential to differentiate into various cell lineages, including adipocytes and osteoblasts. The formation of adipose tissue involves the commitment of MSC to the preadipocyte lineage and the differentiation of preadipocytes into mature adipocytes. In the present study, we investigated the involvement of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in adipocyte differentiation from MSC. Main methods: ROS signaling was evaluated by the effects of antioxidant N-acetyl-l-cysteine (NAC) or shRNA against NAD(P)H oxidase in the multipotent mesenchymal stem cell line 10T1/2 cells. Intracellular ROS was measured using an H2DCF dye. Key findings: We found that NAC blocked adipocyte differentiation in MSC. An H2DCF assay revealed that differentiation-inducing agents induced ROS generation. These data suggest that ROS is involved in adipocyte differentiation in MSC. Next, we examined the source of ROS. Knockdown of NAD(P)H oxidase 4 (Nox4) by RNA interference inhibited ROS production and adipocyte differentiation by differentiation-inducing agents. Furthermore, treatment with NAC blocked the transcriptional activation of CREB, and the expression of dominant-negative mutants of CREB inhibited adipocyte differentiation. Significance: The findings suggest that the increase in the intracellular ROS level via Nox4 mediates adipocyte differentiation through CREB in MSC. This data will provide new insight into the drug development for obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-258
Number of pages9
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 15 Aug 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Dr. Goodman, for providing the plasmids. This work was supported in part by a grant from the Smoking Research Foundation (Y.K. and Y.W.), a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research (No. 2179025 , 23590322 ) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology, Japan (Y.K.) and a Health and Labour Sciences Research Grant from the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, Japan (Y.K.).


  • Adipogenesis
  • CREB
  • Mesenchymal stem cells
  • NAD(P)H oxidase
  • Reactive oxygen species


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