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J Ethnopharmacol. 2007 Nov 1;114(2):260-7. Epub 2007 Aug 19.

Hibiscus sabdariffa L. water extract inhibits the adipocyte differentiation through the PI3-K and MAPK pathway.

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Vestibulocochlear System Research Center & Department of Microbiology, Wonkwang University School of Medicine, Iksan, Jeonbuk 570-749, Republic of Korea.


Hibiscus sabdariffa L., a tropical beverage material and medical herb, is used commonly as in folk medicines against hypertension, pyrexia, inflammation, liver disorders, and obesity. This report was designed to investigate the inhibitory mechanisms of hibiscus extract on adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. The possible inhibitory pathways that regulate the adipocyte differentiation contain the adipogenic transcription factors, C/EBPalpha and PPARgamma, PI3-kinase, and MAPK pathway. In this study, we examined whether hibiscus extract affected the adipogenesis via these three pathways. To differentiate preadipocyte in adipocyte, confluent 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were treated with the hormone mixture including isobutylmethylxanthine, dexamethasone, and insulin (MDI). Hibiscus extract inhibited significantly the lipid droplet accumulation by MDI in a dose-dependent manner and attenuated dramatically the protein and mRNA expressions of adipogenic transcriptional factors, C/EBPalpha and PPARgamma, during adipogenesis. The increase of phosphorylation and expression of PI3-K/Akt during adipocytic differentiation was markedly inhibited by treatment with hibiscus extract or PI3-K inhibitors. Furthermore, the phosphorylation and expression of MEK-1/ERK known to regulate the early phase of adipogenesis were clearly decreased with the addition of hibiscus extract. Taken together, this report suggests that hibiscus extract inhibits the adipocyte differentiation through the modulation of PI3-K/Akt and ERK pathway that play pivotal roles during adipogenesis.

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