An extract of Artemisia dracunculus L. stimulates insulin secretion from β cells, activates AMPK and suppresses inflammation

J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jul 21;170:98-105. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.05.003. Epub 2015 May 14.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Artemisia dracunculus L. (Russian tarragon) is a perennial herb belonging to the family Compositae and has a history of medicinal use in humans, particularly for treatment of diabetes.

Aim of the study: In this study a defined plant extract from A. dracunculus L. (termed PMI-5011) is used to improve beta(β) cells function and maintain β cell number in pancreatic islets as an alternative drug approach for successful treatment of diabetes.

Materials and methods: Mouse and human pancreatic beta cells were treated with defined plant extract of A. dracunculus L. (PMI-5011) to understand the mechanism(s) that influence beta cell function and β cell number.

Results: We found that the PMI-5011 enhances insulin release from primary β cells, isolated mouse and human islets and it maintains β cell number. Insulin released by PMI-5011 is associated with the activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), and protein kinase B (PKB). Furthermore, PMI-5011 suppresses LPS/INFγ-induced inflammation and inflammatory mediator(s) in macrophages. PMI-5011 inhibited Nitric oxide (NO) production and expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) at the protein level and also attenuated pro-inflammatory cytokine (IL-6) production in macrophages.

Conclusion: PMI-5011 has potential therapeutic value for diabetes treatment via increasing insulin release from β cells and decreases capacity of macrophages to combat inflammation.

Keywords: Botanical(s); Diabetes; Inflammation; Insulin secretion; Islets; Pancreatic beta (β) cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inflammation Mediators / metabolism
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Islets of Langerhans / metabolism
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Inflammation Mediators
  • Insulin
  • PMI-5011
  • Plant Extracts
  • Nitric Oxide
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases