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Nutr Res Pract. 2016 Feb;10(1):11-8. doi: 10.4162/nrp.2016.10.1.11. Epub 2015 Jun 19.

D-Xylose as a sugar complement regulates blood glucose levels by suppressing phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCK) in streptozotocin-nicotinamide-induced diabetic rats and by enhancing glucose uptake in vitro.

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Department of Nutritional Science and Food Management, Ewha Womans University, 52 Ewhayeodae-gil, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 03760, Korea.
R&D center, TS Corporation, Incheon 400-201, Korea.
Department of Food Science & Technology, BK21 Plus Team, and Carbohydrate Bioproduct Research Center, Sejong University, Seoul 05006, Korea.



Type 2 diabetes (T2D) is more frequently diagnosed and is characterized by hyperglycemia and insulin resistance. D-Xylose, a sucrase inhibitor, may be useful as a functional sugar complement to inhibit increases in blood glucose levels. The objective of this study was to investigate the anti-diabetic effects of D-xylose both in vitro and stretpozotocin (STZ)-nicotinamide (NA)-induced models in vivo.


Wistar rats were divided into the following groups: (i) normal control; (ii) diabetic control; (iii) diabetic rats supplemented with a diet where 5% of the total sucrose content in the diet was replaced with D-xylose; and (iv) diabetic rats supplemented with a diet where 10% of the total sucrose content in the diet was replaced with D-xylose. These groups were maintained for two weeks. The effects of D-xylose on blood glucose levels were examined using oral glucose tolerance test, insulin secretion assays, histology of liver and pancreas tissues, and analysis of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPCK) expression in liver tissues of a STZ-NA-induced experimental rat model. Levels of glucose uptake and insulin secretion by differentiated C2C12 muscle cells and INS-1 pancreatic β-cells were analyzed.


In vivo, D-xylose supplementation significantly reduced fasting serum glucose levels (P < 0.05), it slightly reduced the area under the glucose curve, and increased insulin levels compared to the diabetic controls. D-Xylose supplementation enhanced the regeneration of pancreas tissue and improved the arrangement of hepatocytes compared to the diabetic controls. Lower levels of PEPCK were detected in the liver tissues of D-xylose-supplemented rats (P < 0.05). In vitro, both 2-NBDG uptake by C2C12 cells and insulin secretion by INS-1 cells were increased with D-xylose supplementation in a dose-dependent manner compared to treatment with glucose alone.


In this study, D-xylose exerted anti-diabetic effects in vivo by regulating blood glucose levels via regeneration of damaged pancreas and liver tissues and regulation of PEPCK, a key rate-limiting enzyme in the process of gluconeogenesis. In vitro, D-xylose induced the uptake of glucose by muscle cells and the secretion of insulin cells by β-cells. These mechanistic insights will facilitate the development of highly effective strategy for T2D.


D-xylose; PEPCK; diabetes; glucose uptake; sugar-complement

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