The antioxidant and antiglucotoxic effects of Alternanthera paronychioides on pancreatic β-cell were investigated. Antioxidant assays demonstrated that ethanol extracts of A. paronychioides (EEAP) exhibited the highest antioxidant activity, which also had the highest phenolic and flavonoid contents. Two major polyphenolics, ferulic acid and quercetin, were identified from EEAP by HPLC-DAD. Effects of EEAP, ferulic acid and quercetin on high glucose (25 mmol/L)-induced pancreatic β-cell apoptosis and dysfunction were further evaluated. Results showed that EEAP and quercetin but not ferulic acid protected β-cells from glucotoxicity through several mechanisms, including: (1) maintaining β-cell viability; (2) suppressing reactive oxygen species production; (3) reducing characteristic features of apoptosis; (4) inhibiting the activation of caspase-9 and caspase-3 and the cleavage of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase; (5) upregulating pancreatic and duodenal homeobox 1 gene expression and the insulin secretagogue action of pancreatic β-cells. These findings may shed light on the preventive actions of A. paronychioides on diabetic glucotoxicity.
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