A rare sugar, D-psicose has progressively been evaluated as a unique metabolic regulator of glucose and lipid metabolism, and thus represents a promising compound for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The present study was undertaken to examine the underlying effector organs of D-psicose in lowering blood glucose and abdominal fat by exploiting a T2DM rat model, Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats. Rats were fed 5% D-psicose or 5% D-glucose supplemented in drinking water, and only water in the control for 13 weeks and the protective effects were compared. A non-diabetic Long-Evans Tokushima Otsuka (LETO), fed with water served as a counter control of OLETF. After 13 weeks feeding, D-psicose treatment significantly reduced the increase in body weight and abdominal fat mass. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) showed the reduced blood glucose and insulin levels suggesting the improvement of insulin resistance in OLETF rats. Oil-red-O staining elucidated that D-psicose significantly reduced lipid accumulation in the liver. Immunohistochemical analysis showed D-psicose induced glucokinase translocation from nucleus to cytoplasm of the liver which enhances glucokinase activity and subsequent synthesis of glycogen in the liver. D-psicose also protected the pathological change of the β-cells of pancreatic islets. These data demonstrate that D-psicose controls blood glucose levels by reducing lipotoxicity in liver and by preserving pancreatic β-cell function.
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