Hibiscus sabdariffa L. calyx extract prevents the adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 adipocytes, and obesity-related insulin resistance in high-fat diet-induced obese rats

Biomed Pharmacother. 2021 Jun;138:111438. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2021.111438. Epub 2021 Mar 13.


Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa) is reported to be beneficial in treating obesity which can develop into a range of metabolic disorders. The molecular mechanisms by which roselle extract works to prevent obesity-related insulin resistance remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that the roselle extract can decrease lipid accumulation and improve insulin resistance by downregulating adipogenesis. The aim of this study is to investigate the protective effect of roselle extract on the mechanism of adipogenesis and prevent complications of the obesity-related insulin resistance in high-fat diet-induced obese rats for 8 weeks. Male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into 4 groups: control (C), high-fat diet (HFD), high-fat diet supplemented with 250 mg/kg BW of roselle (R250), and high-fat diet supplemented with 500 mg/kg BW of roselle (R500). The results demonstrated that roselle had the potential to reduce body weight, food intake, lipid profiles, inflammatory cytokines, lipid peroxidation, serum leptin, insulin and duodenal glucose absorption, while significantly increased glucose uptake of adipose tissue and muscle when compared to the HFD group. Roselle can prevent lipid accumulation by suppressing differentiation of 3T3-L1 adipocyte by downregulating the adipogenic gene expression. The results of this study demonstrated that the molecular mechanism underlying the protective effect of roselle, could be an alternative approach for obesity-related insulin resistance prevention.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; Hibiscus sabdariffa; Insulin resistance; Obesity.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Adipogenesis / physiology
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Flowers
  • Hibiscus*
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Plant Extracts