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Gardenia fruit for diabetes?

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

A study appearing in the June 7 issue of Cell Metabolism finds that a gardenia fruit derivative traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat the symptoms of type 2 diabetes contains a chemical that reverses some pancreatic dysfunctions associated with the disease. The chemical "genipin" seems to block an enzyme called uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2) which, in high concentrations, appears to inhibit insulin secretion from the pancreas and increase the risk of the disease, Chen-Yu Zhang, Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, et al., explain. The researchers isolated pancreas cells taken from normal mice and found that when treated with the extract, the cells secreted insulin. The cells of mice lacking UCP2 did not, suggesting that genipin works through its effects on the UCP2 enzyme. Chen-Yu Zhang, et al., also found that acute addition of genipin to isolated pancreatic tissue reversed high glucose- and obesity-induced dysfunction of insulin-producing beta cells. The researchers say the finding could usher in new diabetes therapies that target the underlying cause of the disease rather than its effects...
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