The soy phytochemical genistein strongly inhibits the antilipolytic action of insulin by boosting cAMP in fat cells

  • Source: Genistein, a plant-derived isoflavone, counteracts the antilipolytic action of insulin in isolated rat adipocytes.
  • Abstract: Genistein is a phytoestrogen exerting numerous biological effects. Its direct influence on adipocyte metabolism and leptin secretion was previously demonstrated. This study aimed to determine whether genistein antagonizes the antilipolytic action of insulin in rat adipocytes. Freshly isolated adipose cells were incubated for 90 min with epinephrine, epinephrine with insulin and epinephrine with a specific inhibitor of protein kinase A (H-89) at different concentrations of genistein (0, 6.25, 12.5, 25, 50 and 100 microM). Genistein failed to affect epinephrine-induced glycerol release, however, the inhibitory action of insulin on epinephrine-induced lipolysis was significantly abrogated in cells exposed to the phytoestrogen (12.5-100 microM). The increase in insulin concentration did not suppress the genistein effect. Its inhibitory influence on the antilipolytic action of insulin was accompanied by a substantial rise in cAMP in adipocytes. This rise appeared despite the presence of 10nM insulin in the incubation medium. Further experiments, in which insulin was replaced by H-89, revealed that the antilipolytic action of protein kinase A inhibitor on epinephrine-induced lipolysis was not affected by genistein. This means that genistein counteracted the antilipolytic action of insulin due to the increase in cAMP levels and activation of protein kinase A in adipocytes. The observed attenuation of the inhibitory effect of insulin on triglyceride breakdown evoked by genistein was not related to its estrogenic activities, as evidenced in experiments employing the intracellular estrogen receptor blocker, ICI 182,780. Moreover, it was found that genistein-induced impairment of the antilipolytic action of insulin was not accompanied by changes in the proportion between fatty acids and glycerol released from adipocytes. The ability of genistein to counteract the antilipolytic action of insulin may contribute to the decreased triglyceride accumulation in adipose tissue.

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