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Curr Pharm Biotechnol. 2017;18(7):560-568. doi: 10.2174/1389201018666170808144703.

Tocotrienols Stimulate Insulin Secretion of Rat Pancreatic Isolated Islets in a Dynamic Culture.

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Drug and Herbal Research Center, Faculty of Pharmacy, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Raja Muda Abdul Aziz, 50300 Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.
Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Jalan Yaacob Latif, 56000 Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia.



Tocotrienols (T3) are the naturally occurring vitamin E derivatives that possess antioxidant properties and therapeutic potential in diabetic complications. The bioactivities of the derivatives are determined by the number and arrangement of methyl substitution on the structure.


The objective of this study was to determine the effects of T3 derivatives, σ-T3, γ-T3 and α-T3 on insulin secretion of rat pancreatic islets in a dynamic culture.


Pancreatic islets isolated from male Wistar rats were treated with T3 for 1 h at 37°C in a microfluidic system with continuous operation that provided a stable cell culture environment. Glucose (2.8 mM and 16.7 mM, as basal and stimulant, respectively) and potassium chloride (KCl) (30 mM) were added to the treatment in calcium free medium. The supernatant was collected for insulin measurements.


Short-term exposure (1 h) of σ-T3 to β cells in the stimulant glucose condition significantly potentiated insulin secretion in a dose-dependent manner. γ-T3 and α-T3 also displayed dosedependent effect but were less effective in the activation of insulin secretion. Essentially, KCl, a pancreatic β cell membrane depolarizing agent, added into the treatment further enhanced the insulin secretion of σ-T3, γ-T3 and α-T3 with ED50 values of 504, 511 and 588 µM, respectively.


The findings suggest the potential of σ-T3 in regulating glucose-stimulated insulin secretion (GSIS) in response to the intracellular calcium especially in the presence of KCl.


Tocotrienols; glucose; insulin secretion; microfluidic system; pancreatic islets; potassium chloride

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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