2005 Volume 125 Issue 12 Pages 981-988
Lycium barbarum is one of the traditional oriental medicines. It has been reported to reduce blood glucose levels. In this study, the effect of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP) on the improvement of insulin resistance and lipid profile was studied in rats, a model for non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). The rats were divided into three groups: control, NIDDM control, and NIDDM+LBP. Diabetes model groups were made by feeding high-fat diet and subjecting to i.p. streptozotocin (50 mg/kg). LBP treatment for 3 weeks resulted in a significant decrease in the concentration of plasma triglyceride and weight in NIDDM rats. Furthermore, LBP markedly decreased the plasma cholesterol levels and fasting plasma insulin levels, and the postprandial glucose level at 30 min during oral glucose tolerance test and significantly increased the Insulin Sensitive Index in NIDDM rats. In the present study, we have tested that LBP can alleviate insulin resistance and the effect of LBP is associated with increasing cell-surface level of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) in skeletal muscle of NIDDM rats. Under insulin stimulus, GLUT4 content in plasma membrane in NIDDM control rats was significantly lower than that of control (p<0.01), and GLUT4 content in the plasma membrane in NIDDM+LBP rats was higher than that of NIDDM control rats (p<0.01). In conclusion, LBP can ameliorate insulin resistance, and the mechanism may be involved in increasing cell-surface level of GLUT4, improving GLUT4 trafficking and intracellular insulin signaling.