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Clitoria ternatea (commonly known as blue pea) flower petal extract (CTE) is used as a natural colorant in a variety of foods and beverages. The objective of study was to determine the inhibitory effect of CTE on adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes. The phytochemical profiles of CTE were analyzed by liquid chromatography and tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). Anti-adipogenesis effect of CTE was measured by using Oil Red O staining, intracellular triglyceride assay, quantitative real-time PCR and western blot analysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Cell cycle studies were performed by flow cytometry. Lipolysis experiments were performed using a colorimetric assay kit. In early stages, CTE demonstrated anti-adipogenic effects through inhibition of proliferation and cell cycle retardation by suppressing expression of phospho-Akt and phospho-ERK1/2 signaling pathway. The results also showed that CTE inhibited the late stage of differentiation through diminishing expression of adipogenic transcription factors including PPARγ and C/EBPα. The inhibitory action was subsequently attenuated in downregulation of fatty acid synthase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase, causing the reduction of TG accumulation. In addition, CTE also enhanced catecholamine-induced lipolysis in adipocytes. These results suggest that CTE effectively attenuates adipogenesis by controlling cell cycle progression and downregulating adipogenic gene expression.

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