Anti-diabetic effects of madecassic acid (MEA) and rotundic acid (RA) were examined. MEA or RA at 0.05% or 0.1% was supplied to diabetic mice for six weeks. The intake of MEA, not RA, dose-dependently lowered plasma glucose level and increased plasma insulin level. MEA, not RA, intake dose-dependently reduced plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity and fibrinogen level; as well as restored antithrombin-III and protein C activities in plasma of diabetic mice. MEA or RA intake decreased triglyceride and cholesterol levels in plasma and liver. Histological data agreed that MEA or RA intake lowered hepatic lipid droplets, determined by ORO stain. MEA intake dose-dependently declined reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidized glutathione levels, increased glutathione content and maintained the activity of glutathione reductase and catalase in the heart and kidneys of diabetic mice. MEA intake dose-dependently reduced interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, tumor necrosis factor-α and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 levels in the heart and kidneys of diabetic mice. RA intake at 0.1% declined cardiac and renal levels of these inflammatory factors. These data indicated that MEA improved glycemic control and hemostatic imbalance, lowered lipid accumulation, and attenuated oxidative and inflammatory stress in diabetic mice. Thus, madecassic acid could be considered as an anti-diabetic agent.
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