Inulin increases glucose transport in C2C12 myotubes and HepG2 cells via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase pathways

J Med Food. 2009 Oct;12(5):1023-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2009.0128.


Inulin, a naturally occurring, functional food ingredient found in various edible plants, has been reported to exert potential health benefits, including decreased risk of colonic diseases, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, and cancer. However, the mechanism of the antidiabetic activity of inulin has not yet been elucidated. In this study, we showed that inulin increased the uptake of glucose in C2C12 myotubes, which was associated with both AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-K) signaling pathways, but both of these pathways appeared to transmit their signals in an independent manner. Moreover, we found that inulin was able to increase the uptake of glucose in C2C12 myotubes in which insulin resistance was induced by exposing cells to high glucose concentrations. The identical effects of inulin were also observed in HepG2 hepatoma cells. Collectively, we report the antidiabetic activity of inulin and further demonstrate for the first time that such activity is associated with AMPK and PI3-K activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Biological Transport / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Cell Line
  • Functional Food
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Inulin / pharmacology*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Inulin
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases