The lignan-rich fractions of Fructus Schisandrae improve insulin sensitivity via the PPAR-γ pathways in in vitro and in vivo studies

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 May 17;135(2):455-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.03.037. Epub 2011 Apr 2.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Fructus Schisandrae, the fruit of Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baillon, has been traditionally used as a hypoglycemic agent in Asia and its extracts have been shown to improve insulin-stimulated glucose uptake in cell-based assays in previous studies.

Aim of the study: We set out to determine which fractions of Fructus Schisandrae improved peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-γ activity and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion in cell-based experiments. The fractions that enhance glucose homeostasis were then tested for their hypoglycemic effects and mechanism was examined.

Materials and methods: The fractions (FS-0, FS-20, FS-40, FS-60, FS-80, FS-100) were made by extracting Fructus Schisandrae with 70% ethanol followed by its fractionation with a XDA column with a different ratio of methanol and water. The insulin-stimulated glucose uptake and PPAR-γ agonistic actions of each fraction were investigated in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion was determined in Min6 cells. The fraction(s) that were efficacious (200mg/kg bw) were orally given to 90% pancreatectomized (Px) diabetic rats for 8 weeks to evaluate insulin sensitivity in euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp and insulin secretion at hyperglycemic clamp.

Results: FS-60 contains schizandrin, gomisin A and angeloylgomisin H while FS-80 contains deoxyschizandrin, γ-schizandrin, and gomisin N. A PPAR-γ agonistic action was greater in the ascending order of the control, FS-80 and FS-60 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. FS-60 increased the glucose disposal rates of Px rats as much as rosiglitazone during euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp while hepatic glucose output at hyperinsulinemic clamped states decreased in the descending order of the control, FS-80, FS-60 with potentiating insulin signaling. At hyperglycemic clamp only FS-60 potentiated first phase insulin secretion in diabetic animals; the second phase was not increased.

Conclusions: FS-60, a lignan-rich fraction, improves glucose homeostasis by increasing glucose disposal rates and enhancing hepatic insulin sensitivity by working as a PPAR-γ agonist in type-2 diabetic rats.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Lignans / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • PPAR gamma / drug effects*
  • PPAR gamma / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Schisandra / chemistry*
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Lignans
  • PPAR gamma
  • Plant Extracts
  • Triglycerides