Resveratrol, a red wine antioxidant, possesses an insulin-like effect in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
Aberrant energy metabolism is one characteristic of diabetes mellitus (DM). Two types of DM have been identified, type 1 and type 2. Most of type 2 DM patients eventually become insulin dependent because insulin secretion by the islets of Langerhans becomes exhausted. In the present study, we show that resveratrol (3,5,4'-trihydroxylstilbene) possesses hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects in streptozotocin-induced DM (STZ-DM) rats. In resveratrol-treated STZ-DM rats, the plasma glucose concentration on day 14 was reduced by 25.3 +/- 4.2%, and the triglyceride concentration was reduced by 50.2 +/- 3.2% compared with the vehicle-treated rats. In STZ-nicotinamide DM rats, the plasma glucose concentration on day 14 was reduced by 20.3 +/- 4.2%, and the triglyceride concentration was reduced by 33.3 +/- 2.2% compared with the vehicle-treated rats. Resveratrol administration ameliorates common DM symptoms, such as body weight loss, polyphagia, and polydipsia. In STZ-nicotinamide DM rats, resveratrol administration significantly decreased insulin secretion and delayed the onset of insulin resistance. Further studies showed that glucose uptake by hepatocytes, adipocytes, and skeletal muscle and hepatic glycogen synthesis were all stimulated by resveratrol treatment. Because the stimulation of glucose uptake was not attenuated in the presence of an optimal amount of insulin in insulin-responsive cells, the antihyperglycemic effect of resveratrol appeared to act through a mechanism(s) different from that of insulin.