Billions of people have obesity-related metabolic syndromes such as diabetes and hyperlipidemia. Promoting the browning of white adipose tissue has been suggested as a potential strategy, but a drug still needs to be identified. Here, genetic deletion of activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3−/−) in mice under a high-fat diet (HFD) resulted in obesity and insulin resistance, which was abrogated by virus-mediated ATF3 restoration. ST32da, a synthetic ATF3 inducer isolated from Salvia miltiorrhiza, promoted ATF3 expression to downregulate adipokine genes and induce adipocyte browning by suppressing the carbohydrate-responsive element-binding protein–stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 axis. Furthermore, ST32da increased white adipose tissue browning and reduced lipogenesis in HFD-induced obese mice. The anti-obesity efficacy of oral ST32da administration was similar to that of the clinical drug orlistat. Our study identified the ATF3 inducer ST32da as a promising therapeutic drug for treating diet-induced obesity and related metabolic disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number389
JournalCommunications Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Adipocyte browning and resistance to obesity in mice is induced by expression of ATF3'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this