Planta Med 2018; 84(02): 100-110
DOI: 10.1055/s-0043-119463
Biological and Pharmacological Activity
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Polyphenol-Enriched Fractions of Cyclopia intermedia Selectively Affect Lipogenesis and Lipolysis in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes

Babalwa U. Jack1, 2, Christiaan J. Malherbe3, Elize L. Willenburg3, Dalene de Beer3, 4, Barbara Huisamen1, 2, Elizabeth Joubert3, 4, Christo J. F. Muller1, 2, 5, Johan Louw1, 5, Carmen Pheiffer1, 2
  • 1Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform, South African Medical Research Council, Tygerberg, South Africa
  • 2Division of Medical Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Stellenbosch, Tygerberg, South Africa
  • 3Plant Bioactives Group, Post-Harvest and Agro-Processing Technologies, Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 4Department of Food Science, University of Stellenbosch, Matieland, South Africa
  • 5Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology, University of Zululand, Kwa-Dlangezwa, South Africa
Further Information

Publication History

received 21 July 2017
revised 31 August 2017

accepted 05 September 2017

Publication Date:
22 September 2017 (eFirst)


Cyclopia species are increasingly investigated as sources of phenolic compounds with potential as therapeutic agents. Recently, we demonstrated that a crude polyphenol-enriched organic fraction (CPEF) of Cyclopia intermedia, currently forming the bulk of commercial production, decreased lipid content in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and inhibited body weight gain in obese db/db mice. The aim of the present study was to determine whether a more effective product and/or one with higher specificity could be obtained by fractionation of the CPEF by purposely increasing xanthone and benzophenone levels. Fractionation of the CPEF using high performance counter-current chromatography (HPCCC) resulted in four fractions (F1–F4), predominantly containing iriflophenone-3-C-β-D-glucoside-4-O-β-D-glucoside (benzophenone: F1), hesperidin (flavanone: F2), mangiferin (xanthone: F3), and neoponcirin (flavone: F4), as quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode array detection (HPLC-DAD), and confirmed by LC-DAD with mass spectrometric (MS) and tandem MS (MSE) detection. All fractions inhibited lipid accumulation in 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes and decreased lipid content in mature 3T3-L1 adipocytes, although their effects were concentration-dependent. F1–F3 stimulated lipolysis in mature adipocytes. Treatment of mature adipocytes with F1 and F2 increased the messenger RNA expression of hormone sensitive lipase, while treatment with F1 and F4 increased uncoupling protein 3 expression. In conclusion, HPCCC resulted in fractions with different phenolic compounds and varying anti-obesity effects. The activities of fractions were lower than the CPEF; thus, fractionation did not enhance activity within a single fraction worthwhile for exploitation as a nutraceutical product, which illustrates the importance of considering synergistic effects in plant extracts.

Supporting Information