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J Vet Sci. 2012 Dec;13(4):339-44.

Silk fibroin hydrolysate exerts an anti-diabetic effect by increasing pancreatic β cell mass in C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice.

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  • 1Department of Medical Genetics, College of Medicine, Hallym University, Chuncheon 200-702, Korea.


Components of silk including silk fibroin have long been used as anti-diabetic remedies in oriental medicine. However, detailed mechanisms underlying these antidiabetic effects remain unclear. In this study, we examined the anti-diabetic activity of silk fibroin hydrolysate (SFH) in C57BL/KsJ db/db (db/db) mice, a well-known animal model of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. When the db/db mice were administered SFH in drinking water for 6 weeks, hyperglycemia in the animals gradually disappeared and the level of glycosylated hemoglobin decreased, indicating that SFH plays important role in reducing the symptoms of diabetes. In addition, SFH-treated db/db mice exhibited improved glucose tolerance with increased plasma insulin levels. Immunohistochemical and morphological analyses showed that SFH up-regulated insulin production by increasing pancreatic β cell mass in the mice. In summary, our results suggest that SFH exerts anti-diabetic effects by increasing pancreatic β cell mass in a non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus mouse model.

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