Plant-based corosolic acid: future anti-diabetic drug?

Biotechnol J. 2009 Dec;4(12):1704-11. doi: 10.1002/biot.200900207.


Diabetes is one of the nation's most prevalent, debilitating and costly diseases. For diabetes, frequent insulin treatment is very expensive and may increase anti-insulin antibody production, which may cause unwanted side effects. Corosolic acid may also have some efficacy in the treatment of diabetes, but without induction of anti-insulin antibodies. Recently, corosolic acid from Lagerstroemia speciosa L. leaf extracts has been reported to act via an indirect mechanism (unlike insulin) in animal experiments. The insulin-complementary anti-diabetic therapeutic value observed in these Japanese preliminary clinical trials has led to renewed interest in the biosynthesis of this compound. So far, there has been no clear evidence for a corosolic acid biosynthetic pathway in plants. This article provides possible roles of corosolic acid and hypothetical information on the biosynthetic pathway in plants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / metabolism*
  • Lagerstroemia / metabolism*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / metabolism*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triterpenes
  • corosolic acid