Cinnamon extract inhibits α-glucosidase activity and dampens postprandial glucose excursion in diabetic rats

Nutr Metab (Lond). 2011 Jun 29;8(1):46. doi: 10.1186/1743-7075-8-46.


Background: α-glucosidase inhibitors regulate postprandial hyperglycemia (PPHG) by impeding the rate of carbohydrate digestion in the small intestine and thereby hampering the diet associated acute glucose excursion. PPHG is a major risk factor for diabetic vascular complications leading to disabilities and mortality in diabetics. Cinnamomum zeylanicum, a spice, has been used in traditional medicine for treating diabetes. In this study we have evaluated the α-glucosidase inhibitory potential of cinnamon extract to control postprandial blood glucose level in maltose, sucrose loaded STZ induced diabetic rats.

Methods: The methanol extract of cinnamon bark was prepared by Soxhlet extraction. Phytochemical analysis was performed to find the major class of compounds present in the extract. The inhibitory effect of cinnamon extract on yeast α-glucosidase and rat-intestinal α-glucosidase was determined in vitro and the kinetics of enzyme inhibition was studied. Dialysis experiment was performed to find the nature of the inhibition. Normal male Albino wistar rats and STZ induced diabetic rats were treated with cinnamon extract to find the effect of cinnamon on postprandial hyperglycemia after carbohydrate loading.

Results: Phytochemical analysis of the methanol extract displayed the presence of tannins, flavonoids, glycosides, terpenoids, coumarins and anthraquinones. In vitro studies had indicated dose-dependent inhibitory activity of cinnamon extract against yeast α-glucosidase with the IC 50 value of 5.83 μg/ml and mammalian α-glucosidase with IC 50 value of 670 μg/ml. Enzyme kinetics data fit to LB plot pointed out competitive mode of inhibition and the membrane dialysis experiment revealed reversible nature of inhibition. In vivo animal experiments are indicative of ameliorated postprandial hyperglycemia as the oral intake of the cinnamon extract (300 mg/kg body wt.) significantly dampened the postprandial hyperglycemia by 78.2% and 52.0% in maltose and sucrose loaded STZ induced diabetic rats respectively, compared to the control. On the other hand, in rats that received glucose and cinnamon extract, postprandial hyperglycemia was not effectively suppressed, which indicates that the observed postprandial glycemic amelioration is majorly due to α-glucosidase inhibition.

Conclusions: The current study demonstrates one of the mechanisms in which cinnamon bark extract effectively inhibits α-glucosidase leading to suppression of postprandial hyperglycemia in STZ induced diabetic rats loaded with maltose, sucrose. This bark extract shows competitive, reversible inhibition on α-glucosidase enzyme. Cinnamon extract could be used as a potential nutraceutical agent for treating postprandial hyperglycemia. In future, specific inhibitor has to be isolated from the crude extract, characterized and therapeutically exploited.