Insulin resistance (IR) plays a central role in the development of several metabolic diseases, which leads to increased morbidity and mortality rates, in addition to soaring health-care costs. Deep sea water (DSW) and fucoidans (FPS) have drawn much attention in recent years because of their potential medical and pharmaceutical applications. This study investigated the effects and mechanisms of combination treatment of DSW and FPS in improving IR in HepG2 hepatocytes induced by a high glucose concentration. The results elucidated that co-treatment with DSW and FPS could synergistically repress hepatic glucose production and increase the glycogen level in IR-HepG2 cells. In addition, they stimulated the phosphorylation levels of the components of the insulin signaling pathway, including tyrosine phosphorylation of IRS-1, and serine phosphorylation of Akt and GSK-3β. Furthermore, they increased the phosphorylation of AMPK and ACC, which in turn decreased the intracellular triglyceride level. Taken together, these results suggested that co-treatment with DSW and FPS had a greater improving effect than DSW or FPS alone on IR. They might attenuate IR by targeting Akt/GSK-3β and AMPK pathways. These results may have some implications in the treatment of metabolic diseases.
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