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Phytomedicine. 2019 Jul 20:153038. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2019.153038. [Epub ahead of print]

48Biochemical mechanisms of the anti-obesity effect of a triterpenoid-enriched extract of Cynomorium songaricum in mice with high-fat-diet-induced obesity.

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School of Life and Health Science, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangdong, 518172, China. Electronic address:
Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Buck Institute for Research on Aging, Novato, CA 94945, USA.
Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong SAR, China. Electronic address:



HCY2, a triterpenoid-enriched extract of Cynomorii Herba, has been shown to reduce body weight and adiposity and attenuate manifestations of the associated metabolic syndrome in high-fat-diet (HFD)-fed mice.


The current study aimed to investigate the biochemical mechanism underlying the anti-obesity effect produced by HCY2.


An HCY2-containing extract was examined for its effects on the regulation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma co-activator-1 (PGC1) pathways and the protein expression related to mitochondrial uncoupling and biogenesis in skeletal muscle using an HFD-induced obese mouse model.


The obese mouse model was produced by providing HFD (60% kcal from fat) ad libitum. The effects and signaling mechanisms of HCY2 were examined using analytical procedures which included enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay kits, Western blot analysis, and the use of a Clark-type oxygen electrode.


The current study revealed that the weight reduction produced by HCY2 is associated with the activation of the AMPK signaling pathway, with resultant increases in mitochondrial biogenesis and expression of uncoupling protein 3 in skeletal muscle in vivo. The use of a recoupler, ketocholestanol, delineated the precise role of mitochondrial uncoupling in the anti-obesity effect afforded by HCY2 in obese mice.


Our experimental findings offer a promising prospect for the use of HCY2 in the management of obesity through the regulation of AMPK/PGC1 pathways.


AMPK; Cynomorium songarium; Mitochondrial biogenesis; Mitochondrial uncoupling; Obesity

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