Anti-obesity effects of 3-hydroxychromone derivative, a novel small-molecule inhibitor of glycogen synthase kinase-3

Sooho Lee, Woo Kyeom Yang, Ji Ho Song, Young Min Ra, Jin Hyun Jeong, Wonchae Choe, Insug Kang, Sung Soo Kim, Joohun Ha

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26 Citations (Scopus)


Glycogen synthase kinase 3 (GSK-3) plays a central role in cellular energy metabolism, and dysregulation of GSK-3 activity is implicated in a variety of metabolic disorders, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Hence, GSK-3 has emerged as an attractive target molecule for the treatment of metabolic disorders. Therefore, this research focused on identification and characterization of a novel small-molecule GSK-3 inhibitor. Compound 1a, a structure based on 3-hydroxychromone bearing isothiazolidine-1,1-dione, was identified from chemical library as a highly potent GSK-3 inhibitor. An in vitro kinase assay utilizing a panel of kinases demonstrated that compound 1a strongly inhibits GSK-3β. The potential effects of compound 1a on the inactivation of GSK-3 were confirmed in human liver HepG2 and human embryonic kidney HEK293 cells. Stabilization of glycogen synthase and β-catenin, which are direct targets of GSK-3, by compound 1a was assessed in comparison with two other GSK-3 inhibitors: LiCl and SB-415286. In mouse 3T3-L1 preadipocytes, compound 1a markedly blocked adipocyte differentiation. Consistently, intraperitoneal administration of compound 1a to diet-induced obese mice significantly ameliorated their key symptoms such as body weight gain, increased adiposity, dyslipidemia, and hepatic steatosis due to the marked reduction of whole-body lipid level. In vitro and in vivo effects were accompanied by upregulation of β-catenin stability and downregulation of the expression of several critical genes related to lipid metabolism. From these results, it can be concluded that compound 1a, a novel small-molecule inhibitor of GSK-3, has potential as a new class of therapeutic agent for obesity treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)965-976
Number of pages12
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2013 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) ( No. 2012-0009381 & 2012-009447 ).

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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