Diabetes and Obesity Drug Discovery & Therapy (Track)


Asna Urooj

Dept. of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Mysore, Mysore, India


Ongoing research across the world is uncovering new insights into diabetes and opening the door to prevention and better therapies. Progress in understanding the metabolic staging of diabetes over the past few years has led to significant advances in treatment regimen. In vitro disease pharmacology CROs offer effective systems to screen pre-clinical candidates without the costs and time associated with in vivo models. Phytochemicals identified from traditional medicinal plants are presenting an exciting opportunity for the development of newer therapeutics. Although > 100 medicinal plants are mentioned in the Indian system of medicines in the management of diabetes, only a small number have received scientific and medical evaluation to assess their anti diabetic effects. The paper presents an overview of work undertaken in our laboratory in exploring the possible mechanisms of action of some Indian plants selected on the basis of their use in treating diabetes.  In vitro, ex vivo and in vivo model systems focusing on their ability to promote glucose adsorption and transport across cell membrane and inhibit carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes were used. The results emphasize that inhibition of carbohydrate hydrolyzing enzymes in one of the mechanism of hypoglycemic action of Eugenia jambolana and Morus indica. The results suggest that the blood glucose lowering effect of the plants studied maybe mediated by increasing the viscosity of the small  intestinal content, adsorb glucose and retard its diffusion. Findings are suggestive of 3 different mechanisms such as 1) binding glucose and hindering its diffusion in the small intestine 2) suppression of enteric enzymes and 3) promotion of glucose transport across target cell membrane. Of the plants studied, Eugenia jambulana caused highly significant inhibition of the enzymes, promoted glucose adsorption and transport which may be responsible for its potent antidiabetic effect. Understanding the mechanism of action of medicinal plants will greatly facilitate to develop rationale for their effective use either singly or in combination with standard antidiabetic agents. The promise of prevention, treatment, and cure for diabetes can only be realized through the vigorous support of scientific research.