Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Vincent Rehder

Second Advisor

Aaron Roseberry

Third Advisor

Bingzhong Xue

Fourth Advisor

Liana Artinian


The present study was undertaken to investigate the effects of the T-type calcium channel blocker, Mibefradil, on white adipocytes. Unexpected for a T-type channel blocker, Mibefradil was found to increase intracellular calcium levels, cause lipid droplet fusion, and result in cell death. Calcium imaging of white adipocytes showed an increase of calcium concentration by Mibefradil at concentrations ranging from10-50 µM. The elevation in calcium by Mibefradil was significantly reduced by pretreatment of cells with Thapsigargin, an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) specific Ca ATPase inhibitor. Additionally, lipid droplet fusion and cell death were also attenuated by Thapsigargin pretreatment in white adipocytes. We conclude that Mibefradil elevated intracellular calcium levels, induced lipid droplet fusion and cell death in white adipocytes via mobilizing intracellular calcium stores from the ER. These results describe novel effects of Mibefradil on white adipocytes and may provide new insight into how this drug might be repurposed in obesity research.