Researchers have determined that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, red grapes, peanuts and blue berries, can trigger novel signaling pathways in the small intestine to lower blood sugar impacting on diabetes risk.
The findings were published in the journal Nature Medicine and addressed a rat study model, to discover that metformin and resveratrol respectively activate molecules known as AMPK and sirtuin 1 in the small intestine and trigger a neuronal network response involving the gut, brain and liver to lower blood sugar.
Although research on resveratrol in cell culture and animal studies has shown promising effects on inhibiting cancer cells, anti-inflammation capabilities and decreases in glucose or blood sugar levels, the compound’s effects on humans is unclear.
“Almost 80% of people living with type 2 diabetes are overweight or have obesity, making it harder for them to control their blood sugar levels. Our work shows that these two antidiabetic agents target the intestine directly, a previously underappreciated organ in diabetes therapy, to lower blood glucose levels, even in obese rats or those with diabetes. This knowledge will help us to develop more effective, targeted drugs, with less side effects. ” said Dr. Frank Duca.
“We already knew that the brain and liver regulate blood glucose levels, but the question has been, how do you therapeutically target either of these two organs without incurring side effects?” said Dr. Lam, and is also a Full Professor of Physiology and Medicine at the University of Toronto. “We may have found a way around this problem by suggesting that molecules in the small intestine can be the initial targets instead. If new medicines can be developed that stimulate these sensing molecules in the gut, we may have effective ways of slowing down the body’s production of sugar, thereby lowering blood sugar levels in diabetes.”
Frank a Duca, Clémence D Côté, Brittany a Rasmussen, Melika Zadeh-Tahmasebi, Guy a Rutter, Beatrice M Filippi & Tony K T Lam. Metformin activates a duodenal Ampk–dependent pathway to lower hepatic glucose production in rats. Nature Medicine, April 2015 DOI: 10.1038/nm.3787