Treatment With Naringenin Elevates the Activity of Transcription Factor Nrf2 to Protect Pancreatic β-Cells From Streptozotocin-Induced Diabetes in vitro and in vivo .

Research paper by Rashmi R Rajappa, Dornadula D Sireesh, Magesh B MB Salai, Kunka M KM Ramkumar, Suryanarayanan S Sarvajayakesavulu, SubbaRao V SV Madhunapantula

Indexed on: 13 Feb '19Published on: 13 Feb '19Published in: Frontiers in pharmacology


Chronic hyperglycemia and unusually high oxidative stress are the key contributors for diabetes in humans. Since nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) controls the expression of antioxidant- and detoxification genes, it is hypothesized that targeted activation of Nrf2 using phytochemicals is likely to protect pancreatic β-cells, from oxidative damage, thereby mitigates the complications of diabetes. Naringenin is one such activator of Nrf2. However, it is currently not known whether the protective effect of naringenin against streptozotocin (STZ) induced damage is mediated by Nrf2 activation. Hence, the potential of naringenin to activate Nrf2 and protect pancreatic β-cells from STZ-induced damage in MIN6 cells is studied. In MIN6 cells, naringenin could activate Nrf2 and its target genes GST and NQO1, thereby inhibit cellular apoptosis. In animals, administration of 50 mg/kg body weight naringenin, for 45 days, significantly decreased STZ-induced blood glucose levels, normalized the lipid profile, and augmented the levels of antioxidants in pancreatic tissues. Immunohistochemical analysis measuring the number of insulin-positive cells in pancreas showed restoration of insulin expression similar to control animals. Furthermore, naringenin promoted glycolysis while inhibiting gluconeogenesis. In conclusion, naringenin could be a good anti-diabetic agent, which works by promoting Nrf2 levels and by decreasing cellular oxidative stress.