Exploring the anti-diabetic potential of Australian Aboriginal and Indian Ayurvedic plant extracts using cell-based assays.BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Feb 05; 15:8.BC
Plant-derived compounds have been used clinically to treat type 2 diabetes for many years as they also exert additional beneficial effects on various other disorders. The aim of the present study was to investigate the possible mechanism of anti-diabetic activity of twelve (seven Australian Aboriginal and five Indian Ayurvedic) plant extracts.
The ethanolic plant extracts were investigated for glucose uptake and adipogenesis in murine 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Cytotoxicity studies were also carried out against two cancerous cell lines, HeLa and A549, to investigate the potential anti-cancer activities of the extracts.
Of the seven Australian Aboriginal plant extracts tested, only Acacia kempeana and Santalum spicatum stimulated glucose uptake in adipocytes. Among the five Indian Ayurvedic plant extracts, only Curculigo orchioides enhanced glucose uptake. With respect to adipogenesis, the Australian plants Acacia tetragonophylla, Beyeria leshnaultii and Euphorbia drumondii and the Indian plants Pterocarpus marsupium, Andrographis paniculata and Curculigo orchioides reduced lipid accumulation in differentiated adipocytes. Extracts of Acacia kempeana and Acacia tetragonophylla showed potent and specific activity against HeLa cells.
The findings suggest that the plant extracts exert their anti-diabetic properties by different mechanisms, including the stimulation of glucose uptake in adipocytes, inhibition of adipogenesis or both. Apart from their anti-diabetic activities, some of the extracts have potential for the development of chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of cervical cancer.