Food Science and Biotechnology

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 263–269 | Cite as

Inhibitory effect of esculetin on free-fatty-acid-induced lipid accumulation in human HepG2 cells through activation of AMP-activated protein kinase

  • Yeaji Park
  • Jeehye Sung
  • Jinwoo Yang
  • Hyeonmi Ham
  • Younghwa Kim
  • Heon-Sang Jeong
  • Junsoo Lee


This study aimed to determine the lipid-lowering effect of esculetin (6,7-dihydroxycoumarin), a coumarin derivative, using a cell model of steatosis induced by a mixture of free fatty acids (FFAs). Esculetin dose-dependently inhibited intracellular lipid accumulation by down-regulating the protein expression of lipogenic genes such as sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP1c) and fatty acid synthase (FAS) in FFAs-induced HepG2 cells. Moreover, esculetin significantly elevated the activation of the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) signaling pathways in HepG2 hepatocytes. The anti-lipogenic effects of esculetin mediated by AMPK activation were abolished when FFAs-induced HepG2 cells were treated with a specific inhibitor of AMPK, i.e., compound C. These results suggest that esculetin attenuates hepatic lipid accumulation by inhibiting lipogenesis through the modulation of AMPK signaling pathway on FFAs-induced steatosis in HepG2 cells and may be used for the prevention of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).


esculetin lipogenesis AMPK NAFLD HepG2 cells 


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Copyright information

© The Korean Society of Food Science and Technology and Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yeaji Park
    • 1
  • Jeehye Sung
    • 1
  • Jinwoo Yang
    • 1
  • Hyeonmi Ham
    • 2
  • Younghwa Kim
    • 3
  • Heon-Sang Jeong
    • 1
  • Junsoo Lee
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Food and Animal SciencesChungbuk National UniversityCheongju, ChungbukKorea
  2. 2.Department of Central Area, National Institute of Crop ScienceRural Development AdministrationSuwon, GyeonggiKorea
  3. 3.School of Food Biotechnology and NutritionKyungsung UniversityBusanKorea

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