Antihyperglycaemic effect of saccharin in diabetic ob/ob mice

Br J Pharmacol. 1997 Jan;120(1):74-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0700871.


1. The effect of chronic saccharin (benzosulphimide) consumption on glucose homeostasis was examined in normal lean +/+ mice and genetically obese hyperglycaemic insulin-resistant ob/ob mice. 2. Consumption of a 5% (w/v) sodium saccharin solution for 7 weeks prevented the development of hyperglycaemia, improved glucose tolerance (area under curve decreased by 51%), reduced the extent of hyperinsulinaemia (by 21%), and reduced excessive weight gain (by 18%) in ob/ob mice. 3. Consumption of 5% (w/v) sodium saccharin temporarily decreased hyperphagia at the beginning of treatment, decreased hepatic glycogen content (by 47%), increased abdominal muscle glycogen content (by 82%), but did not significantly alter the hypoglycaemic response to exogenous insulin in ob/ob mice. 4. Consumption of a 1% (w/v) sodium saccharin solution did not prevent the development of hyperglycaemia in ob/ob mice. 5. Normal lean +/+ mice consuming 5% (w/v) sodium saccharin solution showed a marginal decrease (by 8%) in glycaemia, and glucose tolerance was improved (area under curve decreased by 30%) without a significant change in the insulin response to glucose or the hypoglycaemic effect of exogenous insulin. 6. These results suggest that chronic consumption of saccharin can defer the development of hyperglycaemia and improve glucose homeostasis in insulin-resistant ob/ob mice through a mechanism that is independent of insulin.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Body Weight / physiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / genetics
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism*
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Liver Glycogen / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Obese
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Saccharin / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Liver Glycogen
  • Saccharin