Angelica dahurica Extracts Improve Glucose Tolerance through the Activation of GPR119

PLoS One. 2016 Jul 8;11(7):e0158796. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158796. eCollection 2016.


G protein-coupled receptor (GPR) 119 is expressed in pancreatic β-cells and intestinal L cells, and is involved in glucose-stimulated insulin secretion and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) release, respectively. Therefore, the development of GPR119 agonists is a potential treatment for type 2 diabetes. We screened 1500 natural plant extracts for GPR119 agonistic actions and investigated the most promising extract, that from Angelica dahurica (AD), for hypoglycemic actions in vitro and in vivo. Human GPR119 activation was measured in GeneBLAzer T-Rex GPR119-CRE-bla CHO-K1 cells; intracellular cAMP levels and insulin secretion were measured in INS-1 cells; and GLP-1 release was measured in GLUTag cells. Glucose tolerance tests and serum plasma insulin levels were measured in normal C57BL6 mice and diabetic db/db mice. AD extract-treated cells showed significant increases in GPR119 activation, intracellular cAMP levels, GLP-1 levels and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion as compared with controls. In normal mice, a single treatment with AD extract improved glucose tolerance and increased insulin secretion. Treatment with multiple doses of AD extract or n-hexane fraction improved glucose tolerance in diabetic db/db mice. Imperatorin, phellopterin and isoimperatorin were identified in the active fraction of AD extract. Among these, phellopterin activated GPR119 and increased active GLP-1 and insulin secretion in vitro and enhanced glucose tolerance in normal and db/db mice. We suggest that phellopterin might have a therapeutic potential for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

MeSH terms

  • Angelica / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • CHO Cells
  • Cricetinae
  • Cricetulus
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hypoglycemia / genetics
  • Hypoglycemia / metabolism
  • L Cells
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism*


  • GPR119 protein, human
  • GPR119 protein, rat
  • Gpr119 protein, mouse
  • Plant Extracts
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled

Grants and funding

This research was supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute (KHIDI), funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (grant number: HI12C1564).