The antihyperglycemic effect of caffeic acid, one of the phenolic compounds contained in the fruit of Xanthium strumarium, was investigated. After an intravenous injection of caffeic acid into diabetic rats of both streptozotocin-induced and insulin-resistant models, a dose-dependent decrease of plasma glucose was observed. However, a similar effect was not produced in normal rats. An insulin-independent action of caffeic acid can thus be considered. Otherwise, this compound reduced the elevation of plasma glucose level in insulin-resistant rats receiving a glucose challenge test. Also, glucose uptake into the isolated adipocytes was raised by caffeic acid in a concentration-dependent manner. Increase of glucose utilization by caffeic acid seems to be responsible for the lowering of plasma glucose.
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