Effect of citrus flavonoids on lipid metabolism and glucose-regulating enzyme mRNA levels in type-2 diabetic mice

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2006;38(7):1134-45. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2005.12.002. Epub 2006 Jan 6.


Flavonoids have been identified as the antidiabetic components in a number of traditional ethnic remedies. However, the mechanisms whereby these compounds exert their hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic action in type-2 diabetes have rarely been investigated. Therefore, this study investigated the effect of the flavonoids hesperidin and naringin on glucose and lipid regulation in C57BL/KsJ-db/db mice. Hesperidin and naringin both significantly increased the glucokinase mRNA level, while naringin also lowered the mRNA expression of phosphoenolpyruvate carboxykinase and glucose-6-phosphatase in the liver. In addition, the hepatic glucose transporter 2 protein expression was significantly reduced, while the expression of adipocyte glucose transporter 4 and hepatic and adipocyte peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma were elevated in the hesperidin and naringin groups when compared with the control group. Furthermore, hesperidin and naringin effectively lowered the plasma free fatty acid and plasma and hepatic triglyceride levels, and simultaneously reduced the hepatic fatty acid oxidation and carnitine palmitoyl transferase activity. These changes were seemingly attributable to a suppression of the hepatic fatty acid synthase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and phosphatidate phosphohydrolase activities and an increase in the fecal triglycerides. The two flavonoids also led to a decrease in the plasma and hepatic cholesterol levels that may have been partly due to the decreased hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme (HMG-CoA) reductase and acyl CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activities and increased fecal cholesterol. Consequently, the current results suggest that hesperidin and naringin are beneficial for improving hyperlipidemia and hyperglycemia in type-2 diabetic animals by partly regulating the fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism and affecting the gene expression of glucose-regulating enzymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Citrus
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Flavanones / pharmacology*
  • Glucokinase / drug effects*
  • Glucokinase / genetics
  • Glucokinase / metabolism
  • Hesperidin / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Phytotherapy
  • RNA, Messenger / drug effects*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Flavanones
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Hesperidin
  • Glucokinase
  • naringin