Pancreatic and extra-pancreatic effects of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Medicago sativa (lucerne)

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Abstract

Medicago sativa (lucerne) is used as a traditional plant treatment of diabetes. In the present study, administration of lucerne in the diet (62.5 g/kg) and drinking mater (2.5 g/l) reduced the hyperglycaemia of streptozotocin-diabetic mice. An aqueous extract of Lucerne (1 mg/ml) stimulated 2-deoxy-glucose transport (1.8-fold), glucose oxidation (1.7-fold) and incorporation of glucose into glycogen (1.6-fold) in mouse abdominal muscle. In acute 20 min tests, 0.25-1 mg/ml aqueous extract of lucerne evoked a stepwise 2.5-6.3-fold stimulation of insulin secretion from the BRIN-BD11 pancreatic B-cell line. This effect was abolished by 0.5 mM-diazoxide, and prior exposure to extract did not affect subsequent stimulation of insulin secretion by 10 mM-L-alanine, thereby negating a detrimental effect on cell viability. The effect of extract was potentiated by 16.7 mM-glucose and by 1 mM-3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine. L-Alanine (10 mM) and a depolarizing concentration of KCl (25 mM) did not augment the insulin-releasing activity of lucerne. Activity of the extract was found to be heat stable and largely acetone insoluble, and was enhanced by exposure to acid and alkali (0.1 M-HCl and NaOH) but decreased 25% with dialysis to remove components with molecular mass
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)325-334
JournalBRITISH JOURNAL OF NUTRITION
Volume78
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1997

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