Glucose regulation is a functional process that under degenerate conditions may result in various health issues including obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Metabolically, the insulin receptor, a transmembrane receptor that is activated by insulin and insulin-like growth factors, plays a key role in the glucose regulation. Under decreased insulin secretion or insulin receptor activity condition, the cells are unable to take up glucose, resulting hyperglycemia (an increase in circulating glucose), leading to diabetes mellitus type 2 (commonly called Type 2 diabetes). Therefore, materials that are able to inhibit glucose transport into blood stream or enhance cellular glucose uptake, enhance insulin secretion and insulin receptor activity are helpful to improve diabetic condition and weight management.
On a separate direction, a proven successful approach in diabetic condition improvement and weight management has been the disruption of nutrient digestion. Investigation has been driven towards nutraceuticals that inhibit the breakdown of complex carbohydrates and fats within the gut. Materials inhibit activity of α-amylase, an enzyme that catalyzes the hydrolysis of starch into sugars, deter carbohydrate digestion therefore have been used in humans with promising results relating to diabetic condition improvement and weight loss.
Therefore, we carry out preclinical evaluation on cells and pancreatic islets in following three areas to understand the potential diabetes and weight management function of a nutraceutical material:
- Glucose uptake
- Glucose uptake from intestine to blood stream via caco-2 human intestine cells
- Glucose uptake into cells and glucose metabolism using liver cells
- Insulin receptor activity and insulin secretion enhancement using pancreatic cells and islets
- Carbohydrate digestion inhibition: alpha-amylase and alpha-glucosidase inhibition