Abstract Inflammation of the adipose tissue contributes to the onset and progression of several chronic obesity-related diseases. The two most important lipophilic diterpenoid compounds found in the root of Salvia milthorrhiza Bunge (also called Danshen), tanshinone IIA (TIIA) and cryptotanshinone (CRY), have many favorable pharmacological effects. However, their roles in obesity-associated adipocyte inflammation and related sub-networks have not been fully elucidated. In the present study, we investigated the gene, miRNAs and protein expression profile of prototypical obesity-associated dysfunction markers in inflamed human adipocytes treated with TIIA and CRY. The results showed that TIIA and CRY prevented tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α induced inflammatory response in adipocytes, by counter-regulating the pattern of secreted cytokines/chemokines associated with adipocyte inflammation (CCL2/MCP-1, CXCL10/IP-10, CCL5/RANTES, CXCL1/GRO-α, IL-6, IL-8, MIF and PAI-1/Serpin E1) via the modulation of gene expression (as demonstrated for CCL2/MCP-1, CXCL10/IP-10, CCL5/RANTES, CXCL1/GRO-α, and IL-8), as well as related miRNA expression (miR-126-3p, miR-223-3p, miR-124-3p, miR-155-5p, and miR-132-3p), and by attenuating monocyte recruitment. This is the first demonstration of a beneficial effect by TIIA and CRY on adipocyte dysfunction associated with obesity development and complications, offering a new outlook for the prevention and/or treatment of metabolic diseases.
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