Amaranthus caudatus stimulates insulin secretion in goto-kakizaki rats, a model of diabetes mellitus type 2

Silvia Zambrana, Lena C.E. Lundqvist, Virginia Veliz, Sergiu Bogdan Catrina, Eduardo Gonzales, Claes Göran Östenson

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18 Scopus citations


Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 prevalence is increasing worldwide, thus efforts to develop novel therapeutic strategies are required. Amaranthus caudatus (AC) is a pseudo-cereal with reported anti-diabetic effects that is usually consumed in food preparations in Bolivia. This study evaluated the anti-diabetic nutraceutical property of an AC hydroethanolic extract that contains mainly sugars and traces of polyphenols and amino acids (as shown by nalysis with liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)), in type 2 diabetic Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats and healthy Wistar (W) rats. A single oral administration of AC extract (2000 mg/kg body weight) improved glucose tolerance during Oral Glucose Tolerance Tests (OGTT) in both GK rats and in W rats. Long-term treatment (21 days) with AC (1000 mg/kg b.w.) improved the glucose tolerance evaluated by the area under the curve (AUC) of glucose levels during the OGTT, in both GK and W rats. The HbA1c levels were reduced in both GK (19.83%) and W rats (10.7%). This effect was secondary to an increase in serum insulin levels in both GK and W rats and confirmed in pancreatic islets, isolated from treated animals, where the chronic AC exposure increased the insulin production 4.1-fold in GK and 3.7-fold in W rat islets. Furthermore, the effect of AC on in vitro glucose-dependent insulin secretion (16.7 mM glucose) was concentration-dependent up to 50 mg/mL, with 8.5-fold increase in GK and 5.7-fold in W rat islets, and the insulin secretion in perifused GK and W rat islets increased 31 and nine times, respectively. The mechanism of action of AC on insulin secretion was shown to involve calcium, PKA and PKC activation, and G-protein coupled-exocytosis since the AC effect was reduced 38% by nifedipine (L-type channel inhibitor), 77% by H89 (PKA inhibitor), 79% by Calphostine-C (PKC inhibitor) and 20% by pertussis toxin (G-protein suppressor).

Original languageEnglish
Article number94
Issue number1
StatePublished - 15 Jan 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Amaranthus caudatus
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2 diabetes
  • Goto-Kakizaki rats
  • Insulin secretion
  • Natural product
  • Nutraceutical


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