Scope: Oxidative stress plays a main role in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes mellitus. Cocoa and (-)-epicatechin (EC), a main cocoa flavanol, have been suggested to exert beneficial effects in type 2 diabetes mellitus because of their protective effects against oxidative stress and insulin-like properties. In this study, the protective effect of EC and a cocoa phenolic extract (CPE) against oxidative stress induced by a high-glucose challenge, which causes insulin resistance, was investigated on hepatic HepG2 cells.
Methods and results: Oxidative status, phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), nuclear factor E2 related factor 2 (Nrf2) and p-(Ser)-IRS-1 expression, and glucose uptake were evaluated. EC and CPE regulated antioxidant enzymes and activated extracellular-regulated kinase and Nrf2. EC and CPE pre-treatment prevented high-glucose-induced antioxidant defences and p-MAPKs, and maintained Nrf2 stimulation. The presence of selective MAPK inhibitors induced changes in redox status, glucose uptake, p-(Ser)- and total IRS-1 levels that were observed in CPE-mediated protection.
Conclusion: EC and CPE recovered redox status of insulin-resistant HepG2 cells, suggesting that the functionality in EC- and CPE-treated cells was protected against high-glucose-induced oxidative insult. CPE beneficial effects on redox balance and insulin resistance were mediated by targeting MAPKs.
Keywords: Antioxidant defences; Cocoa flavanols; HepG2 cells; Insulin resistance; Oxidative markers.
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