Grape seed procyanidin extract (GSPE) modulates glucose homeostasis and insulinemia in several animal models. Under pathological conditions, insulin levels are dependent on pancreatic beta-cell functionality, as well as on the beta-cell mass expansion or apoptosis in the pancreas. In this study, we analysed the effects of GSPE on modulating apoptosis and proliferation in beta-cells. We tested the effects of GSPE in the INS-1E pancreatic beta-cell line, either under basal or altered conditions with high glucose, insulin or palmitate levels. GSPE enhanced the pro-apoptotic effect of high glucose and showed clear antiproliferative effects under high glucose, insulin and palmitate conditions. These antiproliferative effects are likely due to high molecular weight compounds contained in the extract. GSPE also modulated pro- and anti-apoptotic markers in the pancreas of rats fed a cafeteria diet, with the effect depending on the dose of GSPE and duration of treatment. Thus, GSPE is able to modulate apoptosis and proliferation of beta-cells under altered, but not basal, conditions.
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