Phenethyl isothiocyanate activates leptin signaling and decreases food intake

Miho Yagi, Yukiko Nakatsuji, Ayumi Maeda, Hiroki Ota, Ryosuke Kamikubo, Noriyuki Miyoshi, Yoshimasa Nakamura, Mitsugu Akagawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity, a principal risk factor for the development of diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and hypertension, is a growing and serious health problem all over the world. Leptin is a weightreducing hormone produced by adipose tissue, which decreases food intake via hypothalamic leptin receptors (Ob-Rb) and the Janus kinase 2/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (JAK2/STAT3) signaling pathway. Protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B (PTP1B) negatively regulates leptin signaling by dephosphorylating JAK2, and the increased activity of PTP1B is implicated in the pathogenesis of obesity. Hence, inhibition of PTP1B may help prevent and reduce obesity. In this study, we revealed that phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC), a naturally occurring isothiocyanate in certain cruciferous vegetables, potently inhibits recombinant PTP1B by binding to the reactive cysteinyl thiol. Moreover, we found that PEITC causes the ligand-independent phosphorylation of Ob-Rb, JAK2, and STAT3 by inhibiting cellular PTP1B in differentiated human SH-SY5Y neuronal cells. PEITC treatment also induced nuclear accumulation of phosphorylated STAT3, resulting in enhanced anorexigenic POMC expression and suppressed orexigenic NPY/AGRP expression. We demonstrated that oral administration of PEITC to mice significantly reduces food intake, and stimulates hypothalamic leptin signaling. Our results suggest that PEITC might help prevent and improve obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0206748
JournalPloS one
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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