Volume 96 (1968) Issue 2 Pages 127-141
Many attempts have been made to treat diabetes mellitus with oral medication, but none of them seems to have been successful. It has been known that a decoction of Eunymus alata sieb growing in Japan has a blood sugar lowering action. The effective component was isolated, crystallized, and identified as oxaloacetic acid (OAA) by infrared spectral analysis. Stable salt of OAA (OAA-sodium) was prepared. The administration of OAA-sodium brought about lowering of the blood sugar level in normal and alloxan diabetic animals. The same drug was given to diabetic patients, and it was found effective in all of 10 of Type I and in 6 of 11 of Type II diabetics according to Yamakawa and Kurokawa's classifica-tion.
A long-term administration of OAA-sodium induced hyperplasia and proliferation of the islet cells of the pancreas in rats, but no mentionable changes were found in the other organs.
It is strongly suspected that OAA-sodium stimulates insulin secretion through some unknown mechanism.