A novel extract of Gymnema sylvestre improves glucose tolerance in vivo and stimulates insulin secretion and synthesis in vitro

Phytother Res. 2013 Jul;27(7):1006-11. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4815. Epub 2012 Aug 21.


Herbal medicines, especially plant-derived extracts, have been used to treat Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) for many centuries, and offer the potential of cheap and readily available alternatives to conventional pharmaceuticals in developing countries. Extracts of Gymnema sylvestre (GS) have anti-diabetic activities and have been used as a folk medicine in India for centuries. We have investigated the effects of a novel high molecular weight GS extract termed OSA® on glucose tolerance in insulin-resistant ob/ob mice, and on insulin secretion and synthesis by isolated mouse islets. Single administration of OSA® (500 mg/kg) to ob/ob mice 30 min before an intraperitoneal glucose load improved their abnormal glucose tolerance. In vitro studies indicated that OSA® (0.25 mg/ml) initiated rapid and reversible increases in insulin secretion from isolated mouse islets at substimulatory (2 mM) and stimulatory (20 mM) glucose concentrations. In addition, prolonged treatment (24-48 h) of mouse islets with OSA® elevated the expression of preproinsulin mRNA and maintained the total insulin content of mouse islets in the presence of stimulated insulin secretion. These effects of OSA® are consistent with its potential use as a therapy for the hyperglycemia associated with obesity-related T2DM.

Keywords: Gymnema sylvestre extract; Type 2 diabetes mellitus; glucose tolerance; insulin secretion; insulin synthesis; mouse islets of Langerhans; ob/ob mouse.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Glucose Intolerance / drug therapy*
  • Gymnema sylvestre / chemistry*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin / biosynthesis*
  • Insulin / genetics
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Islets of Langerhans / drug effects*
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Protein Precursors / genetics
  • Protein Precursors / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protein Precursors
  • RNA, Messenger
  • preproinsulin