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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 625892, 13 pages
Research Article

Role of GLP-1 in the Hypoglycemic Effects of Wild Bitter Gourd

Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan

Received 29 November 2012; Revised 26 January 2013; Accepted 7 February 2013

Academic Editor: I-Min Liu

Copyright © 2013 Ting-ni Huang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This study aimed to examine the role of GLP-1 in the hypoglycemic activity of wild bitter gourd (Momordica charantia L., BG). In vitro, the GLP-1 secretion in STC-1, a murine enteroendocrine cell line, was dose dependently stimulated by water extract (WE), its fractions (WEL, >3 kD and WES, <3 kD), and a bitter compounds-rich fraction of BG. These stimulations were partially inhibited by probenecid, a bitter taste receptor inhibitor, and by U-73122, a phospholipase Cβ2 inhibitor. These results suggested that the stimulation might involve, at least in part, certain bitter taste receptors and/or PLCβ2-signaling pathway. Two cucurbitane triterpenoids isolated from BG, 19-nor-cucurbita-5(10),6,8,22-(E),24-pentaen-3β-ol, and 5β,19-epoxycucurbita-6,24-diene-3β,23ξ-diol (karavilagenine E,) showed relative high efficacy in the stimulation. In vivo, mice fed BG diet showed higher insulinogenic index in an oral glucose tolerance test. A single oral dose of WE or WES pretreatment significantly improved intraperitoneal glucose tolerance. A single oral dose of WES significantly decreased glucose and increased insulin and GLP-1 in serum after 30 min. This acute hypoglycemic effect of WES was abolished by pretreatment with exendin-9, a GLP-1 receptor antagonist. Our data provide evidence that BG stimulates GLP-1 secretion which contributes, at least in part, to the antidiabetic activity of BG through an incretin effect.