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Am J Chin Med. 2012;40(1):163-75.

Mulberry leaf extract stimulates glucose uptake and GLUT4 translocation in rat adipocytes.

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Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand.


Mulberry (Morus alba L.) leaf tea is promoted for its health benefits and the control of diabetes in Asian nations. The blood glucose lowering activity of mulberry leaf extract (MA) has been proven; however, the molecular basis underlying this effect remains unclear. The aim of the present work is to elucidate its mechanism of the antihyperglycemic action, by examining the effect of MA on glucose uptake and the translocation of glucose transporter 4 protein (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane of adipocytes isolated from diabetic rats. The incubation of adipocytes with 5-45 μg/ml MA resulted in 31-54% increase of glucose uptake in a dose-dependent manner. This glucose uptake enhancing effect was inhibited by the phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) inhibitor, wortmannin (100 nM). The GLUT4 protein on the plasma membrane fraction of adipocytes was markedly increased after treatment with 15 μg/ml MA extract. Interestingly, gallic acid, one of the phenolic compounds found in MA extract, increased glucose uptake and enhanced the translocation of GLUT4 at concentrations comparable to the amount of gallic acid in the effective concentration ranges of MA. Thus, it is likely that gallic acid contributes, at least in part, to its antihyperglycemic activity. The present results suggest that the antihyperglycemic action of MA is mediated by increasing glucose uptake via the activation of PI3-K signaling pathway and translocation of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane. These findings are the first molecular evidence supporting the mulberry tea as herbal medicine for diabetic patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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