Effects of Sclerocarya birrea Stem-Bark Extracts on Glucose Uptake, Insulin Synthesis and Expression of Selected Genes Involved in the Synthesis and Secretion of Insulin in Rat Insulinoma Pancreatic Beta Cells

A.H. Kgopa1,*,, L.J. Shai2, and M.A. Mogale1,

1Department of Biochemistry, Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, PO Box 236, Medunsa, 0204. Pretoria, South Africa

2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Science, Tshwane University of Technology, Private Bag X680, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa

*Corresponding author: E-mail: Ananias.kgopa@smu.ac.za


The present study reported the effects of Sclerocarya birrea stem-bark (SBSB) extracts on glucose uptake, insulin synthesis and the expression of glucose transporter 2 (GLUT2), glucokinase, pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1 (PDX-1), musculoaponeurotic fibrosarcoma oncogene homolog A (MafA) and pre-proinsulin genes in rat insulinoma (RIN)-m5F pancreatic beta cells. The amount of glucose taken-up by RIN-m5F cells was measured using a glucose oxidase-based assay kit. Intracellular and secreted insulin were measured using an enzyme linked immunoassay kit. Pre-proinsulin gene expression was determined using the conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique, while the expressions of GLUT2, glucokinase, PDX-1 and MafA genes were evaluated using quantitative real-time PCR technique. Of the four SBSB extracts investigated in the study, only the SBSB hexane extract positively affected all the study variables in RIN-m5F cells compared with the DMSO control. Thus, the SBSB hexane extract contains phytochemicals capable of enhancing insulin synthesis partly through up-regulation of the expression of GLUT2, glucokinase, PDX-1, MafA and pre-proinsulin genes.


Sclerocarya birrea, Glucose uptake, Insulin synthesis, Gene expression, RIN-m5F pancreatic beta cells.

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