April 13, 2024


Hypothesis: Betaine decreases the pathogenicity of Covid-19.

Betaine reduces the expression of inflammatory adipokines caused by hypoxia in human adipocytes

K. Olli (a1)S. Lahtinen


Obesity is characterised by a state of chronic low-grade inflammation and the elevated circulating and tissue levels of inflammatory markers, including inflammation-related adipokines, released from white adipose tissue. The expression and release of these adipokines generally rises as the adipose tissue expands and hypoxic conditions start to develop within the tissue. Here, the effect of betaine, a trimethylglycine having a biological role as an osmolyte and a methyl donor, on the expression of inflammation-related markers was tested in human adipocytes under hypoxia. Differentiated adipocytes were cultivated under low (1 %) oxygen tension for 8–20 h. The expression of different adipokines, including IL-6, leptin, PPARγ, TNF-α and adiponectin, was measured by quantitative PCR by determining the relative mRNA level from the adipocytes. Hypoxia, in general, led to a decrease in the expression of PPARγ mRNA in human adipocytes, whereas the expression levels of leptin and IL-6 mRNA were substantially increased by hypoxia. The cultivation of adipocytes under hypoxia also led to a reduction in the expression of TNF-α mRNA. The results showed that hypoxia increased the relative quantification of leptin gene transcription, and that betaine (250 μmol/l) reduced this effect, caused by low oxygen conditions. Under hypoxia, betaine also reduced the mRNA level of the pro-inflammatory markers IL-6 and TNF-α. These results demonstrate that the extensive changes in the expression of inflammation-related adipokines in human adipocytes caused by hypoxia can be diminished by the presence of physiologically relevant concentrations of betaine.