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Biotechnol Lett. 2012 Sep;34(9):1607-16. doi: 10.1007/s10529-012-0944-1. Epub 2012 May 11.

Heat-processed Gynostemma pentaphyllum extract improves obesity in ob/ob mice by activating AMP-activated protein kinase.

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School of Life Science and Biotechnology, Kyungpook National University, Daegu 702-701, Republic of Korea.


Gynostemma pentaphyllum is widely used in Asian countries as a herbal medicine to treat dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes and inflammation. An ethanol extract of G. pentaphyllum lessened obesity by activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). The levels of damulins A and B, components responsible for AMPK activation in the extract, were increased by autoclaving in a time-dependent manner. Heat-processed G. pentaphyllum extract, actiponin containing damulins A (0.93 %, w/w) and B (0.68 %, w/w), significantly stimulated fat oxidation and glucose uptake via AMPK activation in L6 myotube cells. Oral administration of actiponin to ob/ob mice for 8 weeks decreased body weight gain, liver weight, and blood cholesterol levels with AMPK activation in the soleus muscle. Our results demonstrate the beneficial effect of G. pentaphyllum on improving obesity and have elucidated the underlying molecular mechanisms.

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