Herbal Compounds Alleviate Insulin Resistance

Astragaloside II and isoastragaloside I raise adiponectin levels

THURSDAY, Oct. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Compounds purified from a medicinal herb raise the levels of an insulin-sensitizing hormone and relieve insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance in obese mice, according to a study published online Oct. 16 in Endocrinology.

Aimin Xu from the University of Hong Kong and colleagues purified and identified compounds from the medicinal herb Radix Astragali that could elevate the production of adiponectin, an adipocyte-derived insulin-sensitizing hormone.

The researchers found that two structurally related compounds, astragaloside II and isoastragaloside I, selectively increased adiponectin secretion in primary adipocytes. Chronic treatment of obese mice (for dietary or genetic reasons) with the compounds significantly elevated their total serum adiponectin levels and alleviated their hyperglycemia, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance. These effects were not observed in mice lacking the adiponectin gene.

"In conclusion, our results suggest that pharmacological elevation of circulating adiponectin alone is sufficient to ameliorate insulin resistance and diabetes, and support the use of adiponectin as a biomarker for the future drug discovery," Xu and colleagues write.

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