In vitro anti-diabetic effect of flavonoids and pheophytins from Allophylus cominia Sw. on the glucose uptake assays by HepG2, L6, 3T3-L1 and fat accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

D.G. Semaan, J.O. Igoli, L. Young, A.I. Gray, E.G. Rowan, E. Marrero

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BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Based on ethno-botanical information collected from diabetic patients in Cuba and firstly reported inhibition of PTP1B and DPPIV enzymes activities, Allophylus cominia (A. cominia) was identified as possible source of new drugs that could be used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2-DM).

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: in this study, the activity of the characterised extracts from A. cominia was tested on the glucose uptake using HepG2 and L6 cells, 3T3-L1 fibroblasts and adipocytes as well as their effect on the fat accumulation using 3T3-L1 adipocytes.

KEY RESULTS: on 2-NBDG glucose uptake assay using HepG2 and L6 cells, extracts from A. cominia enhanced insulin activity by increasing glucose uptake. On HepG2 cells Insulin EC50 of 93 ± 21nM decreased to 13 ± 2nM in the presence of the flavonoids mixture from A.cominia. In L6 cells, insulin also produced a concentration-dependent increase with an EC50 of 28.6 ± 0.7nM; EC50 decreased to 0.08 ± 0.02nM and 5 ± 0.9nM in the presence of 100μg/ml of flavonoids and pheophytins mixtures, respectively. In 3T3-L1 fibroblasts, insulin had an EC50 of >1000nM that decreased to 38 ± 4nM in the presence of the flavonoids extract. However, in adipocytes, insulin produced a significant concentration-dependent increase and an EC50 of 30 ± 8nM was a further confirmation of the insulin responsiveness of the adipocytes to the insulin. At 100µg/ml, flavonoids and pheophytins extracts decreased fat accumulation in 3T3-L1 adipocytes by two folds in comparison to the control differentiated cells (p<0.05). The crude extract of A. cominia did not show any enhancement of 2-NBDG uptake by 3T3-L1 adipocytes in the presence or absence of 100nM insulin. In addition, in fully differentiated adipocytes, both extracts produced significant decrease in lipid droplets in the cells and no lipid accumulation were seen after withdrawal of the extracts from the cell growth medium. However, there was no effect of both extracts on total protein concentration in cells as well as on Glut-4 transporters.

CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: the pharmacological effects of the extracts from A. cominia observed in experimental diabetic models were shown in this study. A. cominia is potentially a new candidate for the treatment and management of T2-DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-17
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Early online date12 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 24 Apr 2018


  • Allophylus cominia
  • HepG2 cells
  • L6 cells
  • 3T3-L1 differentiation
  • glucose uptake

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