Evaluating the anti-diabetic effects of Sarcopoterium spinosum extracts in vitro

Tovit Rosenzweig, Guila Abitbol, Dvir Taler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Natural medicine has traditionally used medicinal plants to treat diabetes. However, the efficacy of most of these folk medicine plants has rarely been tested and validated using scientific methods. Sarcopoterium spinosum, an abundant plant in Israel, was suggested to have a beneficial effect on diabetes symptoms. In this study we determined the antidiabetic effect of an S. spinosum extract in vitro. Results: Treatment of L6 myotubes with an S. spinosum extract induced GSK3β phosphorylation, suggesting that the extract increases glycogen synthesis. In pancreatic β-cells, the S. spinosum extract increased basal insulin secretion, but reduced glucose/forskolin-induced insulin secretion. The extract also inhibited isoproterenol-induced lipolysis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes, as determined by measuring the free fatty acids in the supernatant. Conclusion: The study shows that S. spinosum extract affects insulin secretion in pancreatic β-cells, and has insulin-like effects on metabolic pathways in classic insulin-responsive tissues. In vivo studies in diabetic animals will be performed in order to validate the in vitro study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalIsrael Journal of Plant Sciences
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2007


  • Diabetes
  • Herb extract
  • Medicinal plants
  • Sarcopoterium spinosum


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