2-Cis,4-trans-abscisic acid (ABA) is a plant hormone that is present also in animals. Several lines of evidence suggest that ABA contributes to the regulation of glycemia in mammals: nanomolar ABA stimulates insulin release from β-pancreatic cells and glucose transporter-4-mediated glucose uptake by myoblasts and adipocytes in vitro; plasma ABA increases in normal human subjects, but not in diabetic patients, after a glucose load for an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The presence of ABA in fruits prompted an exploration of the bioavailability of dietary ABA and the effect of ABA-rich fruit extracts on glucose tolerance. Rats underwent an OGTT, with or without 1 µg/kg ABA, either synthetic or present in a fruit extract. Human volunteers underwent an OGTT or a standard breakfast and lunch, with or without a fruit extract, yielding an ABA dose of 0.85 or 0.5 µg/kg, respectively. Plasma glucose, insulin, and ABA were measured at different time points. Oral ABA at 0.5-1 µg/kg significantly lowered glycemia and insulinemia in rats and in humans. Thus, the glycemia-lowering effect of low-dose ABA in vivo does not depend on an increased insulin release. Low-dose ABA intake may be proposed as an aid to improving glucose tolerance in patients with diabetes who are deficient in or resistant to insulin.
Keywords: OGTT; apricots; plasma glucose; plasma insulin; standard B&L.