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Aspalathin-Enriched Green Rooibos Extract Reduces Hepatic Insulin Resistance by Modulating PI3K/AKT and AMPK Pathways

  • Mazibuko-Mbeje, Sithandiwe E.
  • Dludla, Phiwayinkosi V.
  • Roux, Candice
  • Johnson, Rabia
  • Ghoor, Samira
  • Joubert, Elizabeth
  • Louw, Johan
  • Opoku, Andy R.
  • Muller, Christo J. F.
Publication Date
Feb 01, 2019
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We previously demonstrated that an aspalathin-enriched green rooibos extract (GRE) reversed palmitate-induced insulin resistance in C2C12 skeletal muscle and 3T3-L1 fat cells by modulating key effectors of insulin signalling such as phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase/protein kinase B (PI3K/AKT) and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). However, the effect of GRE on hepatic insulin resistance is unknown. The effects of GRE on lipid-induced hepatic insulin resistance using palmitate-exposed C3A liver cells and obese insulin resistant (OBIR) rats were explored. GRE attenuated the palmitate-induced impairment of glucose and lipid metabolism in treated C3A cells and improved insulin sensitivity in OBIR rats. Mechanistically, GRE treatment significantly increased PI3K/AKT and AMPK phosphorylation while concurrently enhancing glucose transporter 2 expression. These findings were further supported by marked stimulation of genes involved in glucose metabolism, such as insulin receptor (Insr) and insulin receptor substrate 1 and 2 (Irs1 and Irs2), as well as those involved in lipid metabolism, including Forkhead box protein O1 (FOXO1) and carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1 (CPT1) following GRE treatment. GRE showed a strong potential to ameliorate hepatic insulin resistance by improving insulin sensitivity through the regulation of PI3K/AKT, FOXO1 and AMPK-mediated pathways.

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