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Clin Nutr. 2008 Oct;27(5):764-72. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2008.07.007. Epub 2008 Sep 7.

Catalpic acid decreases abdominal fat deposition, improves glucose homeostasis and upregulates PPAR alpha expression in adipose tissue.

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Laboratory of Nutritional Immunology and Molecular Nutrition, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute, Virginia Tech, VA, USA.



Catalpic acid (CAT) is a conjugated linolenic acid (CLN) isomer containing trans-9, trans-11, cis-13 double bonds in an 18-carbon chain and it is found primarily in the seed oil of ornamental and medicinal trees and shrubs of the family Bignoniaceae. The objective of this study was to investigate whether CAT decreases obesity and ameliorates insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in mice fed high-fat diets.


To test the efficacy of CAT in decreasing obesity and diabetes we used both a model of diet-induced obesity (DIO) and a genetic model of obesity (i.e., mice lacking the leptin receptor). Blood was collected on days 0, 7, 14, 21 and 28 for determining fasting glucose and insulin concentrations in plasma. In addition, a glucose tolerance test was administered on day 28.


We found that dietary CAT (1g/100g) decreased fasting plasma glucose and insulin concentrations, ameliorated the glucose normalizing ability following glucose challenge and decreased abdominal white adipose tissue accumulation. In white adipose tissue (WAT), CAT upregulated peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha and its responsive genes [i.e., stearoyl-coenzyme A desaturase (SCD1) and enoyl-coenzyme A hydratase (ECH)], increased concentrations of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and decreased plasma triglyceride (TG) levels.


CAT decreased abdominal fat deposition, increased HDL cholesterol, decreased TG concentrations, decreased glucose and insulin homeostasis and modulated WAT gene expression in a manner reminiscent of the actions of the PPAR alpha-activating fibrate class of lipid-lowering drugs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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