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Indian J Med Res. 2009 Apr;129(4):401-8.

Insulin sensitizing actions of fenugreek seed polyphenols, quercetin & metformin in a rat model.

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Department of Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar, India.



Plant polyphenols have been known to exert anti-diabetic action and promote insulin action. The present study was carried out to compare the effects of administration of fenugreek seed polyphenolic extract (FPEt), quercetin and metformin (a positive control) in an acquired model of insulin resistance (IR).


Adult male Wistar rats divided into seven groups (n=12). IR was induced in groups (groups 2, 3, 4 and 5) by feeding a high fructose diet (FRU) (60 g/100 g diet) for 60 days. From day 16, FRU rats were administered either FPEt (200 mg/kg bw) (group 3), quercetin (50mg/kg bw) (group 4) or metformin (50 mg/kg bw) (group 5) for the next 45 days. Group 1 served as normal control while groups 6 and 7 served as FPEt and quercetin controls respectively. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was done on day 59 to assess glucose tolerance. At the end of 60 days, the levels of glucose, insulin, triglycerides (TG) and free fatty acids (FFA) were measured in the blood and the activities of insulin-inducible and suppressible enzymes in cytosolic and mitochondrial fractions of liver and skeletal muscle. The extent of tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins in response to insulin was determined by assaying protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) and protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) in liver.


Fructose caused increased levels of glucose, insulin, TG and FFA, alterations in insulin sensitivity indices, enzyme activities and reduced glycogen content. Higher PTP activity and lower PTK activity suggest reduced tyrosine phosphorylation status. Administration of FPEt or quercetin improved insulin sensitivity and tyrosine phosphorylation in fructose-fed animals and the effect was comparable with that of metformin.


Our findings indicated that FPEt and quercetin improved insulin signaling and sensitivity and thereby promoted the cellular actions of insulin in this model.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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