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Abelmoschus moschatus (Malvaceae), an aromatic plant, suitable for medical or food uses to improve insulin sensitivity

Liu, I.-M., Tzeng, Thing-Fong, Liou, Shorong-Shii
Phytotherapy research 2010 v.24 no.2 pp. 233-239
Abelmoschus moschatus, diet, essential oil crops, flavonoids, fructose, glucose tolerance, glucose transporters, herbs, homeostasis, immunoblotting, insulin, insulin resistance, medical foods, muscles, patients, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, rats, receptors, therapeutics, Taiwan
Abelmoschus moschatus (Malvaceae) is an aromatic and medicinal plant, distributed in many parts of Asia, including south Taiwan. The present study was undertaken to clarify whether the herb is effective in improving insulin resistance. Insulin resistance in rats was induced by a diet containing 60% fructose for 6 weeks. The degree of insulin resistance was measured by homeostasis model assessment of basal insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Insulin sensitivity was calculated using the composite whole body insulin sensitivity index (ISIcomp) during the oral glucose tolerance test. Insulin receptor-related signaling mediators in soleus muscles of rats were evaluated by immunoprecipitation or immunoblotting. The extract of A. moschatus had a higher level of polyphenolic flavonoids. A. moschatus extract (200 mg/kg per day) displayed the characteristics of rosiglitazone (4 mg/kg per day) in reducing the higher HOMA-IR index as well as elevating ISIcomp in fructose chow-fed rats after a 2-week treatment. Treatment with moschatus extract for 2 weeks increased post-receptor insulin signaling mediated by enhancements in insulin receptor substrate-1-associated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase step and glucose transporter subtype 4 translocation in insulin-resistant soleus muscles. A. moschatus is therefore proposed as potentially useful adjuvant therapy for patients with insulin resistance and/or the subjects wishing to increase insulin sensitivity.