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Phytomedicine. 2007 Nov;14(11):778-84. Epub 2007 Feb 12.

Pharmacological investigations of the anti-diabetic effect of Cortex Moutan and its active component paeonol.

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Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, New territories, Hong Kong, China.


Cortex Moutan (CM, root bark of Paeonia suffruticosa Andr.) is one of the common herbs found in anti-diabetic traditional Chinese medicine formulae. To study the potential anti-diabetic mechanisms of CM, four in vitro models (intestinal brush border membrane vesicles (BBMV), rat hepatoma cell line H4IIE, human skin fibroblasts cell line Hs68 and mouse adipocytes 3T3-L1) were used. CM showed significant in vitro anti-diabetic effects by inhibiting glucose uptake of BBMV and enhancing glucose uptake into Hs68 and 3T3-L1 cells. Using bioassay-guided fractionation, paeonol was confirmed to be one of the active constituents for inhibiting BBMV glucose uptake. With neonatal-streptozotocin diabetic rats, paeonol (200 and 400mg/kgbody wt.) was found to improve oral glucose tolerance in vivo. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the anti-diabetic effect of paeonol.

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