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Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Dec;67(4):377-83. doi: 10.1007/s11130-012-0322-0.

Plant extracts of winter savory, purple coneflower, buckwheat and black elder activate PPAR-γ in COS-1 cells but do not lower blood glucose in Db/db mice in vivo.

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  • 1Institute of Animal Nutrition and Physiology, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Hermann-Rodewald-Str. 9, 24118 Kiel, Germany. eva.schrader@iba.fau.de


The aim of this study was to investigate possible blood glucose-lowering effects of plant extracts in vivo for which prior to this a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ activity in vitro was observed. The ability of extracts of winter savory, purple coneflower, buckwheat and black elder to dose-dependently activate peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ was determined in a reporter gene assay in COS-1 cells. For evaluation of glucose-lowering effects in vivo, db/db mice were fed a diet containing either rosiglitazone (0.02 g/kg diet, positive control) or one of the plant extracts (0.1 and 1 g/kg diet) for four weeks. Apart from glucose, insulin, triacylglycerols, non-esterified fatty acids, cholesterol and adiponectin were determined in plasma. All plant extracts showed a dose-dependent peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ-activating effect in vitro. In db/db mice none of the plant extracts exerted glucose-lowering effects at the used dosages compared to rosiglitazone. Non-esterified fatty acids, triacylglycerols, cholesterol, insulin and adiponectin in plasma were not altered by the plant extracts as well. Although dose-dependent peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ activity could be shown in COS-1 cells, the experiments in db/db mice lacked to confirm any anti-diabetic effect of the plant extracts in vivo and emphasizes the importance of verifying cell culture data using an appropriate in vivo model.

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