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Obesity (Silver Spring). 2008 Jun;16(6):1331-7. doi: 10.1038/oby.2008.217. Epub 2008 Apr 3.

Chromium alleviates glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and hepatic ER stress in obese mice.

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  • 1Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Center for Cardiovascular Research and Alternative Medicine, School of Pharmacy, University of Wyoming, Laramie, Wyoming, USA.



Chromium has gained popularity as a nutritional supplement for diabetic patients. This study evaluated the effect of chronic administration of a chromium complex of D-phenylalanine (Cr(D-phe)(3)) on glucose and insulin tolerance in obese mice. The study tested the hypothesis that Cr(D-phe)(3) suppresses endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and insulin resistance in these animals.


C57BL lean and ob/ob obese mice were randomly divided to orally receive vehicle or Cr(D-phe)(3) (3.8 mug of elemental chromium/kg/day) for 6 months. Insulin sensitivity was evaluated by glucose and insulin tolerance tests. Protein levels of phosphorylated pancreatic ER kinase (PERK), alpha subunit of translation initiation factor 2 (eIF2alpha) and inositol-requiring enzyme-1 (IRE-1), p-c-Jun, and insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) phosphoserine-307 were assessed by western blotting. In vitro ER stress was induced by treating cultured muscle cells with thapsigargin in the presence or absence of Cr(D-phe)(3).


ob/ob mice showed poor glucose and insulin tolerance compared to the lean controls, which was attenuated by Cr(D-phe)(3). Markers of insulin resistance (phospho-c-Jun and IRS-1 phosphoserine) and ER stress (p-PERK, p-IRE-1, p-eIF2alpha), which were elevated in ob/ob mice, were attenuated following Cr(D-phe)(3) treatment. Chromium treatment was also associated with a reduction in liver triglyceride levels and lipid accumulation. In cultured myotubes, Cr(D-phe)(3) attenuated ER stress induced by thapsigargin.


Oral Cr(D-phe)(3) treatment reduces glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and hepatic ER stress in obese, insulin-resistant mice.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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