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J Agric Food Chem. 2014 Oct 8;62(40):9736-43. doi: 10.1021/jf5024092. Epub 2014 Sep 26.

Hibiscus sabdariffa polyphenols alleviate insulin resistance and renal epithelial to mesenchymal transition: a novel action mechanism mediated by type 4 dipeptidyl peptidase.

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Division of Basic Medical Science, Hungkuang University , No. 1018, Sec. 6, Taiwan Boulevard, Shalu District, Taichung City 43302, Taiwan.


The epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) is important in renal fibrosis. Ser307 phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1 (S307)) is a hallmark of insulin resistance. We report that polyphenol extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa (HPE) ameliorate diabetic nephropathy and EMT. Recently it has been observed that type 4 dipeptidyl peptidase (DPP-4) inhibitor linagliptin is effective for treating type 2 diabetes and albuminuria. We investigated if DPP-4 and insulin resistance are involved in renal EMT and explored the role of HPE. In high glucose-stimulated tubular cells, HPE, like linagliptin, inhibited DPP-4 activation, thereby regulating vimentin (EMT marker) and IRS-1 (S307). IRS-1 knockdown revealed its essential role in mediating downstream EMT. In type 2 diabetic rats, pIRS-1 (S307) abundantly surrounds the tubular region, with increased vimentin in kidney. Both the expressions were reduced by HPE. In conclusion, HPE exerts effects similar to those of linagliptin, which improves insulin resistance and EMT, and could be an adjuvant to prevent diabetic nephropathy.


diabetic nephropathy; epithelial to mesenchymal transition; insulin resistance; polyphenol extracts of Hibiscus sabdariffa; type 4 dipeptidyl peptidase

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