Anti-obesity effects of glabridin-rich supercritical carbon dioxide extract of licorice in high-fat-fed obese mice

Food Chem Toxicol. 2013 Jan;51:439-45. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2012.08.048. Epub 2012 Sep 4.


Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra Linne) is a well-known medicinal plant and glabridin is an isoflavan isolated from licorice. In this study, we investigated the anti-obesity effect of glabridin and glabridin-rich supercritical fluid extract of licorice (LSC). Glabridin effectively inhibited adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 cells. Moreover, LSC showed inhibitory effect on adipogenesis in a dose-dependent manner. The inhibitory effect of LSC resulted from inhibiting the induction of the transcriptional factors CCAAT enhancer binding protein alpha and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma. Then we fed mice with high-fat diet containing none, 0.1% and 0.25% LSC for 8weeks to explore the anti-obesity effect of LSC in vivo. LSC significantly reduced weight gain by high-fat diet in a dose-dependent manner. The reductions of the hypertrophy of white adipose tissue and of fat cell size were also observed. In the liver, LSC supplementation effectively inhibited high-fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis through downregulation of gluconeogenesis related phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose 6-phosphatase and upregulation of the β-oxidation related carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1. Taken together, our results suggest that glabridin and glabridin-rich licorice extract would be effective anti-obesity agents.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, White / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, White / pathology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha / metabolism
  • Carbon Dioxide / chemistry
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glycyrrhiza / chemistry*
  • Isoflavones / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • CCAAT-Enhancer-Binding Protein-alpha
  • Isoflavones
  • PPAR gamma
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Carbon Dioxide
  • glabridin