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J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Aug;9(4):499-504.

Hibiscus extract inhibits the lipid droplet accumulation and adipogenic transcription factors expression of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes.

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Korea Food Research Institute, Kyungi-do, Korea.



This study was designed to investigate the effect of hibiscus (Hibiscus sabdariffa) on adipogenic differentiation of 3T3-L1 cells at the cellular and molecular levels.


Various concentrations of hibiscus extract were added to confluent 3T3-L1 preadipocytes at the outset of the differentiation program and further incubated for 36 hours. Cells were maintained in postdifferentiation medium containing insulin with hibiscus extract in complete culture medium.


Hibiscus extract inhibited the adipocyte differentiation of 3T3-L1 preadipocytes induced by insulin, dexamethasone, and isobutylmethylxanthine (IBMX) in a dose-dependent manner. Hibiscus blocked the cytoplasmic lipid accumulation when administered at the onset of differentiation and 4 days after induction of differentiation. The inhibitory effect of hibiscus on adipogenic lipid accumulation of preadipocytes was significant (p < 0.01) between control cells and cells treated with hibiscus. Hibiscus extract significantly attenuated the expression of key adipogenic transcription factors, including CCAAT element binding protein (C/EBP)alpha and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)gamma at protein levels.


These results suggest that hibiscus extract blocks adipogenesis, in part, by its suppression on the expression of adipogenic transcription factors, including C/EBPalpha and PPARgamma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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