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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 Oct 14;57(19):8776-81. doi: 10.1021/jf900768w.

Betulinic acid, a natural pentacyclic triterpenoid, prevents abdominal fat accumulation in mice fed a high-fat diet.

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Department of Clinical and Toxicological Analysis, Federal University of CearĂ¡, Fortaleza, CearĂ¡, Brazil.


In the search for potential antiobese agents from natural sources, this study investigated the effects of betulinic acid (BA), a pentacyclic triterpene from Clusia nemorosa L. (Clusiaceae), in mice on a high-fat diet (HFD). Adult male Swiss mice (n = 8) treated or not with BA (50 mg/L, in drinking water) were fed a HFD during 15 weeks. Mice treated with BA and fed a HFD showed significantly (P < 0.05) decreased body weights, abdominal fat accumulation, blood glucose, plasma triglycerides, and total cholesterol relative to their respective controls fed no BA. Additionally, BA treatment, while significantly elevating the plasma hormone levels of insulin and leptin, decreased the level of ghrelin. However, it caused a greater decrease in plasma amylase activity than the lipase. These findings suggest that BA has an antiobese potential through modulation of fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and it may be a suitable lead compound in the treatment of obesity.

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