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Infect Disord Drug Targets. 2011 Apr;11(2):188-95.

Chromium-picolinate therapy in diabetes care: molecular and subcellular profiling revealed a necessity for individual outcome prediction, personalised treatment algorithms and new guidelines.

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  • 1Department of Radiology, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn, Sigmund-Freud-Strasse 25, Bonn, Germany.



Global figures clearly demonstrate inadequacy of current diabetes care: every 10 seconds one patient dies of diabetes-related pathologies. Nephropathy is the leading secondary complication of the disease. Nutritional supplement by chromium-picolinate is assumed to have beneficial therapeutic effects. However, potential toxic effects reported increase concerns about safety of chromium-picolinate. The experimental design aimed at determining, whether the treatment with clinically relevant doses of chromium-picolinate can harm through DNA damage and extensive alterations in central detoxification / cell-cycle regulating pathways in treatment of diabetes.


Well-acknowledged animal model of db/db-mice and clinically relevant doses of chromium-picolinate were used. As an index of DNA-damage, measurement of DNA-breaks was performed using "Comet Assay"-analysis. Individual and group-specific expression patterns of SOD-1 and P53 were evaluated to give a clue about central detoxification and cell-cycle regulating pathways under treatment conditions. The study was performed in a double-blind manner.


Experimental data revealed highly individual reaction under treatment conditions. However, group-specific patterns were monitored: highest amount of damaged DNA--under the longest treatment with high doses, in contrast to groups with low doses of chromium-picolinate. Comet patterns were intermediate between untreated diabetised and control animals. Expression patterns demonstrated a correlation with subcellular imaging and dosage-dependent suppression under chromium-picolinate treatment.


This article highlights possible risks for individual long-term effects, when chromium-picolinate is used freely as a therapeutic nutritional modality agent without application of advanced diagnostic tools to predict risks and individual outcomes. Targeted measures require a creation of new guidelines for advanced Diabetes care.

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