Groundsel Bush (Baccharis halimifolia) Extract Promotes Adipocyte Differentiation In Vitro and Increases Adiponectin Expression in Mature Adipocytes

Biology (Basel). 2018 Mar 25;7(2):22. doi: 10.3390/biology7020022.


An ethanolic extract of Baccharis halimifolia (groundsel bush, GB), which is a native Louisiana plant with documented use in Creole folk medicine, has been shown to inhibit lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in cultured macrophages. Here, we examine the effects of GB on adipocyte development and function, as these processes are attractive targets for intervention in insulin resistance. Oil Red O neutral lipid staining, reverse transcription-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR), and immunoblotting were used to measure GB effects on lipid accumulation, gene expression, and protein abundance, respectively. In differentiating 3T3-L1 adipocytes, GB enhanced lipid accumulation and increased expression of several adipogenic genes (GLUT4, aP2, ADPN, CEBPα, FAS, and PPARγ). Protein levels of two of these adipogenic markers (aP2 and adiponectin) were examined and found to be induced by GB treatment. In mature adipocytes, GB reduced the gene expression of resistin, a pro-inflammatory endocrine factor, increased the adiponectin protein levels in a time-dependent manner, and substantially attenuated the TNF-alpha-induced reduction in adiponectin. In macrophages, GB reduced the expression of pro-inflammatory genes that were induced by LPS. GB produces metabolically favorable changes in differentiating adipocytes, mature adipocytes, and macrophages in vitro, suggesting its potential use as a dietary supplement or nutraceutical to support metabolic health and resiliency.

Keywords: adiponectin; botanicals; fat cells; groundsel bush.