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Phytother Res. 2008 Apr;22(4):500-5. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2351.

Hypoglycemic effect of a novel dialysed fenugreek seeds extract is sustainable and is mediated, in part, by the activation of hepatic enzymes.

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  • 1National Centre for Cell Science, NCCS Complex, Ganeshkhind, Pune 411 007, India.


A novel preparation of a dialysed aqueous extract of fenugreek seeds (FSE) that stimulates the insulin signalling pathway was reported previously (Vijayakumar et al., 2005). The present study was designed to investigate the long-term effects (multiple dose effect) of this FSE preparation on the blood glucose level and body weight, and a short-term effect (single dose effect) on serum insulin and hepatic enzymes, in experimentally induced diabetic conditions. The multiple dose effect of FSE on the glucose level and body weight was studied in alloxan (AXN)-diabetic mice in comparison with the vehicle treated control diabetic mice. Intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of FSE (15 mg/kg body weight (BW)) for 5 consecutive days reduced hyperglycemia in AXN-diabetic mice on day 5 and this effect was further sustained for 10 days. The FSE-induced hypoglycemic effect was accompanied without any reduction in the body weight compared with the diabetic mice in which the body weight was reduced significantly. A single dose effect of FSE on hepatic glucokinase (GK) and hexokinase (HK) enzymes was studied in streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic mice. Intraperitoneal administration of FSE (15 mg/kg BW) by 90 min decreased the blood glucose levels significantly (p < 0.01) in STZ-diabetic mice and the effect was comparable to that achieved by insulin (1.5 U/kg BW) injection. This effect was associated with a significant enhancement in the liver GK and HK activities on a par with that of insulin. In normal glucose loaded mice, FSE improved the intraperitoneal glucose tolerance accompanied by a reduction in serum insulin concentration. These results are indicative of an extra-pancreatic mode of action of FSE. The present study concludes that this novel FSE preparation corrects metabolic alterations associated with diabetes by exhibiting insulin-like properties and has a potential for clinical applications.

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