Dietary hempseed meal intake increases body growth and shortens the larval stage via the upregulation of cell growth and sterol levels in Drosophila melanogaster

Min Jung Lee, Min Soo Park, Soojin Hwang, Yoon Ki Hong, Gahee Choi, Yoon Seak Suh, Seung Yeop Han, Darae Kim, Jungae Jeun, Chun Taek Oh, Sung Joon Lee, Sung Jun Han, Donghak Kim, Eun Soo Kim, Gilsang Jeong, Kyoung Sang Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Hempseed, a rich source of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) and phytosterols, has been recognized as a potential therapeutic food used for cardioprotection, preventing platelet aggregation, and improving atopic dermatitis. Although several studies have revealed the physiological benefits of hempseed on a variety of animals, the effects of dietary hempseed intake on animal development are currently unknown. In this study, we evaluated the developmental effects of the addition of hempseed meal (HSM) to the diet of Drosophila. Interestingly, dietary HSM intake was shown to increase the body size of flies by increasing cell numbers, and also truncated the larval period without affecting survival rate or longevity. The oviposition of female flies was also increased by dietary HSM supplementation. Interestingly, the levels of sterols, which are precursors of ecdysone, a molting hormone, were found to be elevated in the larvae fed on HSM. Additionally, the hexane extracts of hempseed mimicked the effects of HSM on growth, developmental timing, and reproduction. Moreover, among the major nonpolar components of HSM, feeding on cholesterol but not PUFA mix or campesterol accelerated pupariation and increased body size. These results indicate that the dietary intake of HSM accelerates both body growth and developmental rates in Drosophila via the stimulation of cell growth and ecdysone synthesis. Additionally, nonpolar components of hempseed, such as cholesterol, might be responsible for the effects of HSM on development and reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-36
Number of pages8
JournalMolecules and cells
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010 Jul

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported b y Technology Development Program for Agriculture and Forestry, Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Repub lic of Korea, and b y a grant of the Traditional Korean Medicine R&D Project, Ministry for Health and Welfare and Family Affairs, Repub lic of Korea (B090068).


  • Drosophila
  • body growth
  • cholesterol
  • developmental rate
  • ecdysone
  • hempseed meal
  • reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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