Anti-Obesity and Lipid Metabolism Effects of Ulmus davidiana var. japonica in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet

J Microbiol Biotechnol. 2021 Jul 28;31(7):1011-1021. doi: 10.4014/jmb.2102.02015.


The root bark of Ulmus davidiana var. japonica (Japanese elm) is used in Korea and other East Asian countries as a traditional herbal remedy to treat a variety of inflammatory diseases and ailments such as edema, gastric cancer and mastitis. For this study, we investigated the lipid metabolism and anti-obesity efficacy of ethyl alcohol extract of Ulmus davidiana var. japonica root bark (UDE). First, HPLC was performed to quantify the level of (+)-catechin, the active ingredient of UDE. In the following experiments, cultured 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes and high-fat diet (HFD)-fed murine model were studied for anti-obesity efficacy by testing the lipid metabolism effects of UDE and (+)-catechin. In the test using 3T3-L1 pre-adipocytes, treatment with UDE inhibited adipocyte differentiation and significantly reduced the production of adipogenic genes and transcription factors PPARγ, C/EBPα and SREBP-1c. HFD-fed, obese mice were administered with UDE (200 mg/kg per day) and (+)-catechin (30 mg/kg per day) by oral gavage for 4 weeks. Weight gain, epididymal and abdominal adipose tissue mass were significantly reduced, and a change in adipocyte size was observed in the UDE and (+)-catechin treatment groups compared to the untreated control group (***p < 0.001). Significantly lower total cholesterol and triglyceride levels were detected in UDE-treated HFD mice compared to the control, revealing the efficacy of UDE. In addition, it was found that lipid accumulation in hepatocytes was also significantly reduced after administration of UDE. These results suggest that UDE has significant anti-obesity and lipid metabolism effects through inhibition of adipocyte differentiation and adipogenesis.

Keywords: (+)-catechin; 3T3-L1; Ulmus davidiana var. japonica; anti-obesity; high-fat diet.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / drug effects
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects
  • Adipogenesis / genetics
  • Animals
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / administration & dosage
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Obesity Agents / pharmacology*
  • Catechin / administration & dosage
  • Catechin / pharmacology
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Mice
  • Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Obesity / pathology
  • Plant Bark / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Ulmus / chemistry*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Anti-Obesity Agents
  • Lipids
  • Plant Extracts
  • Catechin