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Chinese medicinal plant may help treat obesity, diabetes

A new study has revealed that a component of a flowering plant used in traditional Chinese medicine thwarts development of obesity, type 2 diabetes and hepatic steatosis.

Washington: A new study has revealed that a component of a flowering plant used in traditional Chinese medicine thwarts development of obesity, type 2 diabetes and hepatic steatosis.

According to the study, a component found in the plant, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, may inhibit the development of metabolic disorders by stopping the activation of NLRP3, a protein involved in the disease process and the researchers identified isoliquiritigenin as having the ability to attenuate high-fat, diet-induced obesity, type 2 diabetes and hepatic steatosis in mice.

Kiyoshi Takatsu, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Immunobiology and Pharmacological Genetics, Graduate School of Medicine and Pharmaceutical Science for Research at the University of Toyama in Toyama Japan, said that identification of small compounds that inhibit the NLRP3 inflammasome is required to design effective therapeutics and they hope that their findings will provide new information and strategy that can be exploited for development of new herbal medication of those diseases.

Scientists stimulated mouse macrophages with different inflammasome activators in the presence of isoliquiritigenin, before activating NLRP3 inflammasome, which was examined by measuring IL-1beta production in the culture supernatants.

The results showed that relatively low concentrations of isoliquiritigenin were highly effective in inhibiting IL-1beta production compared with known NLRP3 inflammasome inhibitors, such as parthenolide and sulfonylurea drug glyburide. For animal studies, three groups of mice were used. The first group of mice was fed a normal diet and the second group of mice was fed a high-fat diet. The third group of mice was fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 0.5 percent isoliquiritigenin. High-fat diet feeding for 20 weeks induced obesity, type 2 diabetes and hepatic steatosis in mice, but supplementation of ILG markedly improved these disorders. Finally, supplementation of isoliquiritigenin inhibited high-fat diet-induced IL-1beta production in adipose tissue.

The study was published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology.  

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