Combating Insulin Resistance Using Medicinal Plants as a Supplementary Therapy to Metformin in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes: Improving Early Intervention-Based Diabetes Treatment

(1) American Heritage School

One in eleven people will have a form of diabetes during their lifetime (1). In 2012, diabetes and its life-threatening side effects cost 245 billion dollars in the United States (2). Averting type 2 diabetes (T2D) will significantly reduce health care costs and engender a healthier population. A primary cause of diabetes is insulin resistance, which is caused by disruption of insulin signal transduction. The objective was to maximize insulin sensitivity by creating a more effective, early intervention-based treatment to avert severe T2D. This treatment combined metformin, “the insulin sensitizer”, and medicinal plants, curcumin, fenugreek, and nettle. To conduct this study, insulin resistance was induced using free fatty acids (FFAs). Insulin sensitivity in adipocytes (propagated and differentiated from 3T3-L1 fibroblasts) was measured using assays specific for leptin concentration, glucose uptake, and Akt phosphorylation. These three proteins/pathways served as quantitative measurements for insulin sensitivity, since they are essential to insulin signaling. It was hypothesized that a dual therapy would maximize insulin sensitivity. This hypothesis was supported as each plant-enhanced combination treatment attenuated the effects of FFAs, increasing and reversing each biological marker of functional insulin signaling to normal function. This indicates that each treatment has the potential to combat obesity, augment glucose uptake, and heighten Akt/PI3K pathway function. This study, therefore, offers an improved multifunctional early intervention-based diabetes treatment that maximizes insulin sensitivity.

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diabetes insulin medicinal plants adipocytes metabolism treatment