Antidiabetogenic efficiency of menthol, improves glucose homeostasis and attenuates pancreatic β-cell apoptosis in streptozotocin-nicotinamide induced experimental rats through ameliorating glucose metabolic enzymes

Biomed Pharmacother. 2017 Aug;92:229-239. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.05.068. Epub 2017 May 23.


The phytochemical, menthol, has been reported to play many beneficial roles. However, under diabetic conditions, there is no detail mechanism of its beneficial action in the glucose homeostasis. The present study, we investigated to explore the role of menthol, on the glucose metabolic enzymes and pancreatic islet cell apoptosis of streptozotocin-nicotinamide (STZ-NA) induced diabetes in rats. Diabetes was induced by single intraperitoneal (i.p.) injection of STZ (50mg/kg/b.w.) and NA (110mg/kg/b.w.). Diabetic rats were treated with different dose of menthol (25, 50, and 100mg/kg/b.w.) and glibenclamide (600μg/kg/b.w.) daily for 45 days. The result of our study shows that menthol significantly reduced the blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin levels and significantly increased the total hemoglobin, plasma insulin and liver glycogen levels in diabetic rats. The altered activities of hepatic glucose metabolic enzymes, serum biomarkers of liver damage were restored to near normal. The pathological abnormalities in hepatic and pancreatic islets of diabetic rats were significantly ameliorated by menthol intervention. These effects were mediated by suppressing pancreatic β-cells apoptosis and were associated with increased anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 expression and reduced pro-apoptotic Bax expression. Findings from the current study consent us to conclude that menthol alleviates STZ-NA-induced hyperglycemia via modulating glucose metabolizing enzymes, suppression of pancreatic β-cells apoptosis and altered hepatic, pancreatic morphology. This exclusivity and dearth of any noticeable adverse efficacy proposes the opportunity of using this monoterpene as an efficient adjuvant in the management diabetes mellitus.

Keywords: Apoptosis; Diabetes mellitus; Hepatic glucose metabolism; Menthol; Streptozotocin–nicotinamide.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Homeostasis / physiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Male
  • Menthol / pharmacology
  • Menthol / therapeutic use*
  • Niacinamide / toxicity
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Streptozocin / toxicity
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Menthol
  • Niacinamide
  • Streptozocin
  • Glucose