Welcome to Caffeine Lipolysis Page

This is a BIOCHEM 3D03 Project Page by Nicholas Kim, David Kuang, Benson Lam, Andrew Li, and Tennison Yu

Note: For best result, view using Google Chrome. Otherwise there may be errors in formatting.


Drawn by TennisonYu
Molecular Formula: C8 H10 N4 O2

Molecular Weight: 194.19 g/mol

Density: 1.23g/cm3

Acidity(pKa): −0.13–1.22
Caffeine is a common compound ingested to elicit stimulating behavior in an individual. The person becomes more aware and less tired from consuming it. It is a purine based compound which competes with adenosine in binding to receptors. Caffeine has many well known pharmaceutical effects. These include, increase in excitability of the nervous system, alertness, basal metabolism, cardiac work, and diuretic effects. The excitation effect of caffeine on the central nervous system is from a stress effect. The first extraction of caffeine via paper chromatography was conducted by a German chemist named Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge as well as French chemists Robiquet, Pelletier, and Cavantou. [1] Hermann Emil Fisher was awarded the Nobel prize in 1902 with his success in total synthesis of caffeine. [2]

The purpose of this project is to analyze the effects of caffeine on lipolysis based on evidence from previous researches and clinical studies. We will observe two specific pathways (as shown below). This study will be potentially important because it may help our understanding of burning fat, which can affect weight loss.

It is found through research that uptake of caffeine ultimately causes a cascade of reactions that results in an increase in cyclic AMP (cAMP). cAMP up-regulates PKA and HSL which increases lipolysis activity. This ultimately causes an increase in fat oxidation.[3] (Figure 1)
Fig. 1. Pathways. Modified from : Hursel, R., Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S., (2010) International Journal of Obesity. 34, 659-669


Pathway 1 (P1)
Pathway 2 (P2)
A2A Receptor
A2A Receptor
Adenyl Cyclase
Decrease ATP
Increase cAMP
Increase cAMP
Increase PKA
Increase PKA
Decrease ACC
Increase HSL/ATGL
Decrease malonyl CoA
Increase Lipolysis
Increase CPT1
Increase FFA-Triglyceride Cycles
Increase Fat Oxidation
Increase Fat Oxidation
The main enzymes and effects of caffeine on lipolysis and fat oxidation are shown in the table above and the diagram on the right. It is important to note the two enzymes that caffeine can directly affect: adenyl cyclase and phosphodiesterase. In addition, the two pathways later converge on cAMP and Protein Kinase A. Protein Kinase A can positively regulate fat oxidation in two ways as well. This illustrates that the multiple lipolysis pathways can simultaneously occur via caffeine and emphasizes the importance of this pathways as discussed in lecture.

Clinical Studies

For effects of these pathways on weight, see clinical studies

Video explanation (Basic information)

Although this video does not inform us about the effect of caffeine on the lipolysis, it illustrates the structural similarities between the caffeine and adenosine. Caffeine is a competitive inhibitor to adenosine in the nerve cell, which is a molecule that makes the brain "sleepy". It also provides the information on the caffeine effect on increasing alertness or awakeness. Refer to the A2A receptor for the details on the role of Adenosine in the process of lipolysis.

  1. ^ Jeune, B. (1822). Dictionnaire de Medicine. 4. Paris, France
  2. ^ Waldvogel, S. R. (2003). Angewandte Chemie.International edition in English 42, 604
  3. ^ Hursel, R. and Westerterp-Plantenga, M.S. (2010). International Journal of Obesity. 34, 659-669