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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

[1] Supakanya Kumkarnjana, Rutt Suttisri, Ubonthip Nimmannit, Apirada Sucontphunt, Mattaka Khongkow, Thongchai Koobkokkruad, Nontima Vardhanabhuti. Flavonoids kaempferide and 4,2′-dihydroxy-4′,5′,6′-trimethoxychalcone inhibit mitotic clonal expansion and induce apoptosis during the early phase of adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2019, 17(4): 288-295.
[2] Pathom Somwong, Rutt Suttisri. Cytotoxic activity of the chemical constituents of Clerodendrum indicum and Clerodendrum villosum roots. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2018, 16(1): 57-61.
[3] Morad Hebi, Mohamed Eddouks. Hypolipidemic activity of Tamarix articulata Vahl. in diabetic rats. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2017, 15(6): 476-482.
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[5] Sameer S. Ketkar, Atul S. Rathore, Sathiyanarayanan Lohidasan, Lakshmi Rao​, Anant R. Paradkar, Kakasaheb R. Mahadik. Investigation of the nutraceutical potential of monofloral Indian mustard bee pollen. Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2014, 12(4): 379-389.
[6] Di Li, Guan-liang Wang, Meng-ya Shan, Jia-han Liu, Lin Wang, De-zeng Zhu. Effects of ursolic acid on c-Cbl-associated protein expression in 3T3-L1 adipocytes with insulin resistance. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(8): 886-893.
[7] Sumitra Singh, Rupinder Kaur, Surendra Kr. Sharma. An updated review on the Oenothera genus. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(7): 717-725.
[8] C. Mouli Kalla, Vijaya Tartte, Dattatreya Rao Sirpurkar. Effectiveness of flavonoid-rich leaf extract of Acalypha indica in reversing experimental myocardial ischemia: biochemical and histopathological evidence. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(7): 784-792.
[9] Satish Patel, Vikas Sharma, Nagendra S. Chauhan, Vinod K. Dixit. An updated review on the parasitic herb of Cuscuta reflexa Roxb. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2012, 10(3): 249-255.
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[11] Zhi-ming Huang, Gui-ling Ouyang, Lian-bao Xiao, Ning-li Li, Hua-li Gao, Yong He, Zheng Huang, Xin-xing Huang. Effects of Drynaria total flavonoids on apoptosis of osteoblasts mediated by tumor necrosis factor-α. Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine, 2011, 9(2): 173-178.
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