Anti-adipogenic activities of pheophorbide a and pyropheophorbide a isolated from wild bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L. var. abbreviata Seringe) in vitro

Yuh Hwa Liu, Yeh Lin Lu, Ya Chih Chang, Jong Ho Chyuan, Tzong Huei Lee, Wen Chi Hou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The wild bitter gourd (WBG) is a commonly consumed vegetable in Asia that has antioxidant and hypoglycemic properties. The present study aimed to investigate the anti-adipogenic activities of isolated compounds from WBG on 8-day differentiated cultures of 3 T3-L1 adipocytes that were then stained with Oil Red O (ORO) or diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI). RESULTS: ORO stains of the methanol extracts of de-seeded HM86 cultivar of WBG (WBG-M) and the ethyl acetate fractions (WBG-M-EA) showed anti-adipogenic activities against differentiated adipocytes. Two chlorophyll-degraded compounds, pheophorbide a (1) and pyropheophorbide a (2), were isolated from WBG-M-EA. Treatments with 1 (5, 10, and 20 μmol L−1) and 2 (2.5, 5, and 10 μmol L−1) showed dose-dependent reductions in lipid accumulations and reduced nuclear DAPI stains in differentiated 3 T3-L1 adipocytes. The concentrations for 50% inhibition against lipid accumulations of 1 and 2, respectively, were 16.05 and 7.04 μmol L−1. Treatments with 1 and 2 showed enhanced lactate dehydrogenase release in the first 4-day cell mitotic clonal expansions during the differentiating cultural processes, although the effect was less on the non-differentiating cultural processes. Thus, 1 and 2 were more toxic to differentiating adipocytes than to non-differentiated pre-adipocytes, which partly resulted in anti-adipogenic activities with lowered lipid accumulations. CONCLUSION: Both 1 and 2 showed anti-adipogenic activities in cell models. These chlorophyll-degraded compounds commonly exist in several vegetables during storage or edible seaweeds, which will provide resources for further investigations aiming to test anti-obesity in animal studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • adipocytes
  • anti-adipogenic activity
  • differentiation
  • lactate dehydrogenase
  • wild bitter gourd (WBG)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Food Science
  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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