Hyperglycemia is associated with advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Recently, AGEs were found to cause pancreatic damage, oxidative stress, and hyperglycemia through the AGE receptor. Carboxymethyllysine (CML) is an AGE but whether it induces pancreatic dysfunction remains unclear. Graptopetalum paraguayense, a vegetable consumed in Taiwan, has been used in folk medicine and is an antioxidant that protects against liver damage. We investigated the protective properties of G. paraguayense 95% ethanol extracts (GPEs) against CML-induced pancreatic damage. The results indicated that resveratrol, GPE, and gallic acid (the active compound of GPE) increased insulin synthesis via upregulation of pancreatic peroxisome proliferator activated-receptor-γ (PPARγ) and pancreatic-duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1) but inhibited the expression of CML-mediated CCAAT/enhancer binding protein-β (C/EBPβ), a negative regulator of insulin production. Moreover, resveratrol and GPE also strongly activated nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) to attenuate oxidative stress and improve insulin sensitivity in the liver and muscle of CML-injected C57BL/6 mice and resulted in reduced blood glucose levels. Taken together, these findings suggested that GPE and gallic acid could potentially be used as a food supplement to protect against pancreatic damage and the development of diabetes.
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