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Journal of Integrative Medicine ›› 2018, Vol. 16 ›› Issue (6): 427-434.doi: 10.1016/j.joim.2018.10.002

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles    

Anti-adipogenic effect of flavonoids from Chromolaena odorata leaves in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

Supakanya Kumkarnjana a, Rutt Suttisri a, Ubonthip Nimmannit a, b, Thongchai Koobkokkruad b, Chutichot Pattamadilok a, Nontima Vardhanabhuti a   

  1. a Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
    b Nano-Cosmeceuticals Laboratory, National Nanotechnology Center, National Science and Technology Development Agency, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
  • Received:2018-05-15 Accepted:2018-07-27 Online:2018-11-08 Published:2018-10-05
  • Contact: Nontima Vardhanabhuti; E-mail:

The leaves of Chromolaena odorata, a highly invasive shrub found growing wild worldwide, are traditionally used for wound healing. Due to its high flavonoid contents, we aimed to find a new application for this plant. Preliminary tests using its ethanolic leaf extract showed that it could suppress the accumulation of lipids in adipocytes. We therefore studied the anti-adipogenic effect of several C. odorata leaf extracts and the relationship between molecular structure and bio-activity of its isolated flavonoid constituents using 3T3-L1 preadipocytes/adipocytes as a model.


Three leaf extracts and thirteen flavonoids isolated from C. odorata were tested for their effect on lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes using AdipoRed reagent, with quercetin as the positive control. The effects of active flavonoids on the adipocytes were confirmed by oil red O staining and visualized under a light microscope.


n-Hexane and ethyl acetate extracts of C. odorata leaves displayed anti-adipogenic activity. The latter extract was the more potent one, especially at 40?μg/mL. Four flavonoids, pectolinarigenin, kaempferide, 4,2′-dihydroxy-4′,5′,6′-trimethoxychalcone and dillenetin, exhibited significant, concentration-dependent inhibitory effects on lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The most potent flavonoid obtained in this study was 4,2′-dihydroxy-4′,5′,6′-trimethoxychalcone, which caused 75% and 90% inhibition of cellular lipid accumulation at 30 and 50?μmol/L, respectively. Both kaempferide and 4,2′-dihydroxy-4′,5′,6′-trimethoxychalcone were major constituents in the ethyl acetate extract of this plant.


C. odorata leaves contained several flavonoids with anti-adipogenic effects against lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The plant, normally considered a useless weed, may actually provide an abundant source of biologically active flavonoids.

Key words: Chromolaena odorata, Flavonoids, 3T3-L1 cells, Adipocytes, Lipotropic agents, Plant extracts

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