Obesity is a major human health problem associated with various diseases, including cardiac injury and type 2 diabetes. Trapa japonica Flerov (TJF) has been used in traditional oriental medicine to treat diabetes. In this study, we evaluated the inhibitory effect of and the mechanism underlying the effect of TJF extract on adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. The effects of TJF extract on cell viability were analyzed using a 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay, and the anti-adipogenic effect was measured by oil red O staining. The expression of peroxisomal proliferator activated receptor (PPAR)γ, CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-α (C/EBP)α, adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK), acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC), adiponectin, and fatty acid binding protein (FABP)4 involved in adipogenesis was determined by western blot analysis. TJF extract effectively inhibited lipid accumulation and the expression of PPARγ and C/EBPα in 3T3-L1 cells. TJF also increased the phosphorylation of AMPK and ACC, and decreased the expression of adiponectin and FABP4. These results indicate that TJF extract exerts its anti-obesity effect through the downregulation of adipogenic transcription factors and adipogenic marker genes.
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