Anti-atherogenic effect of chromium picolinate in streptozotocin-induced experimental diabetes

J Diabetes. 2013 Mar;5(1):43-50. doi: 10.1111/j.1753-0407.2012.00211.x.


Background: Several studies have implicated changes in the levels of trace elements in diabetes. Chromium is one such element that seems to potentiate insulin action, thereby regulating carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effect of chromium supplementation as chromium picolinate on the lipid profile of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats.

Methods: Rats were rendered diabetic by a single injection of STZ (50 mg/kg, i.p.). Chromium picolinate (1 mg/kg per day, p.o.) was administered to rats for a period of 4 weeks. At the end of the treatment period, plasma total lipids, triglycerides, total cholesterol and lipoprotein levels were determined, as was hepatic glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity.

Results: Total plasma lipids increased significantly in diabetic rats and this increase was ameliorated by chromium treatment for 4 weeks. Elevated total lipids in diabetic rats were due to increased plasma triglyceride and cholesterol levels. Chromium supplementation lowered plasma triglyceride and cholesterol levels to near normal. Chromium treatment also normalized low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and very low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol levels and improved the total cholesterol:high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) and HDL-C:LDL-C ratios, suggesting an anti-atherogenic effect. In addition to improving the plasma lipid profile, chromium supplementation normalized liver glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase activity in diabetic rats.

Conclusions: These results provide evidence that chromium picolinate effectively attenuates the dyslipidemia associated with diabetes and thus can be used as an adjuvant therapy in the treatment of diabetes and its associated complications.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Atherosclerosis / blood
  • Atherosclerosis / complications
  • Atherosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cholesterol / classification
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / complications*
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Male
  • Picolinic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Risk Factors
  • Streptozocin
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Picolinic Acids
  • Triglycerides
  • Streptozocin
  • Cholesterol
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase
  • picolinic acid