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Actions of the traditional anti-diabetic plant, Agrimony eupatoria (agrimony): effects on hyperglycaemia, cellular glucose metabolism and insulin secretion

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 August 2007

Alison M. Gray*
School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK
Peter R. Flatt
School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Coleraine BT52 1SA, UK
Corresponding author: Dr Alison M. Gray, fax +44 (0) 1232 382008, email
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Agrimony eupatoria (agrimony) has been documented as a traditional treatment of diabetes. Here, the effects of dietary administration of agrimony on streptozotocin (STZ)-diabetic mice and on in vitro glucose uptake and glucose metabolism, and on insulin secretion by BRIN-BD11 cells were investigated. Agrimony incorporated into the diet (62·5 g/kg) and drinking water (2·5 g/l) countered the weight loss, polydipsia, hyperphagia and hyperglycaemia of STZ-diabetic mice. Aqueous extract of agrimony (1 mg/ml) stimulated 2-deoxy-glucose transport (1·4-fold), glucose oxidation (1·4-fold) and incorporation of glucose into glycogen (2·0-fold) in mouse abdominal muscle comparable with 0·1 μM-insulin. In acute 20 min tests, 0·25-1 mg/ml aqueous extract of agrimony evoked a stepwise 1·9–3·8-fold stimulation of insulin secretion from the BRIN-BD11 pancreatic B-cell line. This effect was abolished by 0·5mM-diazoxide and previous exposure to extract did not adversely affect subsequent stimulation of insulin secretion by 10 mM-L-alanine, thereby indicating that there was no detrimental effect of the extract on cell viability. The effect of extract was glucose-independent and was not evident in BRIN-BD11 cells exposed to a depolarizing concentration of KCl. The ability of agrimony extract to enhance insulin secretion was dependent on use of heat during extract preparation. These results demonstrate the presence of antihyperglycaemic, insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity in Agrimony eupatoria.

Research Article
Copyright © The Nutrition Society 1998


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