Averrhoa carambola L. peel extract suppresses adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 cells
Obesity is associated with an increased risk of many chronic diseases. Recently, a growing body of evidence has shown that phytochemicals may inhibit adipogenesis and obesity. In this study, we report for the first time, the ability of Averrhoa carambola L. peel extract commonly known as star fruit (SFP) to effectively suppress adipocyte differentiation in 3T3-L1 preadipocytes and therefore, address it as a potential candidate to treat obesity and its related diseases. (−)-Epicatechin was identified as a bioactive compound likely responsible for this suppression. As the genetic expression studies revealed that the adipogenic activity of SFP extract was due to the simultaneous downregulation of the C/EBPα and PPARγ as well as the upregulation of PPARα receptor genes, a detailed computational docking study was also elucidated to reveal the likely binding mode of (−)-epicatechin to the receptor of interest, accounting for the likely mechanism that results in the overall suppression of adipocyte differentiation.