JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Metabolic and molecular action of Trigonella foenum-graecum (fenugreek) and trace metals in experimental diabetic tissues

Najma Zaheer Baquer, Pardeep Kumar, Asia Taha, R K Kale, S M Cowsik, P McLean
Journal of Biosciences 2011, 36 (2): 383-96
21654091
Diabetes mellitus is a heterogeneous metabolic disorder characterized by hyperglycaemia resulting in defective insulin secretion, resistance to insulin action or both. The use of biguanides, sulphonylurea and other drugs are valuable in the treatment of diabetes mellitus; their use, however, is restricted by their limited action, pharmacokinetic properties, secondary failure rates and side effects. Trigonella foenum-graecum, commonly known as fenugreek, is a plant that has been extensively used as a source of antidiabetic compounds from its seeds and leaf extracts. Preliminary human trials and animal experiments suggest possible hypoglycaemic and antihyperlipedemic properties of fenugreek seed powder taken orally. Our results show that the action of fenugreek in lowering blood glucose levels is almost comparable to the effect of insulin. Combination with trace metal showed that vanadium had additive effects and manganese had additive effects with insulin on in vitro system in control and diabetic animals of young and old ages using adipose tissue. The Trigonella and vanadium effects were studied in a number of tissues including liver, kidney, brain peripheral nerve, heart, red blood cells and skeletal muscle. Addition of Trigonella to vanadium significantly removed the toxicity of vanadium when used to reduce blood glucose levels. Administration of the various combinations of the antidiabetic compounds to diabetic animals was found to reverse most of the diabetic effects studied at physiological, biochemical, histochemical and molecular levels. Results of the key enzymes of metabolic pathways have been summarized together with glucose transporter, Glut-4 and insulin levels. Our findings illustrate and elucidate the antidiabetic/insulin mimetic effects of Trigonella, manganese and vanadium.

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