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Red wine compound could block fat cell formation

August 19, 2014
Kee-Hong Kim found that piceatannol, a compound found in red wine and several fruits, blocks immatur

Drinking red wine won't make you thinner, but Purdue research shows that a compound in red wine may stop new fat cells from developing.

Consumers may be aware of resveratrol, the compound in red wine, grapes, and peanuts that is thought to combat cancer, heart disease, and neurodegenerative diseases. Kee-Hong Kim, an assistant professor of food science, is focusing on a similar compound called piceatannol, which he believes could be an important weapon against obesity.

Immature fat cells go through a 10-day process in which they become larger, mature fat cells. Kim found that piceatannol disrupts that process early on, blocking the activation of genes that would cause those cells to grow.

"These precursor cells, even though they have not accumulated lipids, have the potential to become fat cells. These cells are commonly used as a model of adipose development," Kim said.

"While our finding is from a cell culture system, we think that our study identified piceatannol as a novel bioactive compound that could delay or prevent fat cell accumulation and, hopefully, body fat mass gain."

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