Research News

Aug 4, 2023

  • Human Life and Ecology

Tropical plant native to China reveals antiobesity potential

Scientists discover that Mallotus furetianus, native to Hainan Island, China, has antiobesity effects

Dried Mallotus furetianus leaves

Mallotus furetianus, a tropical plant of the Euphorbiaceae family, native to Hainan Island, China.

Credit: Akiko Kojima, Osaka Metropolitan University

Obesity, a major risk factor for various lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and hypertension has become widespread worldwide, inherently demanding innovative solutions to combat it.

A multi-institutional research group led by Associate Professor Akiko Kojima of the Graduate School of Human Life and Ecology at Osaka Metropolitan University, has made significant progress in the fight against obesity. The group had previously conducted a study on the effects of the extract of Mallotus furetianus (MFE), a tropical plant native to Hainan Island, China, on the prevention of fatty liver, but the antiobesity effects of MFE and its mechanisms had not been elucidated until now.

Using obesity model mice, the researchers set out to verify the antiobesity effects of MFE extract and the results were remarkable. Treatment with MFE significantly suppressed the increase in body weight and adipose tissue weight, and also demonstrated morphological changes in the liver and adipose tissue of the obesity model mice. Further investigation into the mechanism revealed that fat synthesis was inhibited by suppressing the expression of several transcription factors involved in adipocyte differentiation.

“Our research group is searching for food ingredients with antiobesity effects, based on the idea that if we can find and incorporate them into our daily diets, we can contribute to people's health and longevity,” stated Professor Kojima. “These results not only suggest a link between Mallotus furetianus extract and antiobesity effects but also indicate its potential as a new food ingredient with antiobesity properties.”

Their findings were published in the Food Science & Nutrition.


JSPS KAKENHI, Grant/Award Number: 15K00832

Paper Information

Journal: Food Science & Nutrition
Title: The suppression of the differentiation of adipocytes with Mallotus furetianus is regulated through the post-translational modifications of C/EBPβ
DOI: 10.1039/d2nh00576j
Author: Touko Nakano, Yutaro Sasaki, Toshio Norikura, Yusuke Hosokawa, Mayu Kasano, Isao Matsui-Yuasa, Xuedan Huang, Yoshinori Kobayashi, and Akiko Kojima-Yuasa
Publication date: July 5, 2023



Graduate School of Human Life Science
Akiko Kojima
E-mail: kojima-yuasa [at]

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