Activation of AMPK by Medicinal Plants and Natural Products: Its Role in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus

Author(s): Flavio Francini*, Guillermo R. Schinella, José-Luis Ríos.

Journal Name: Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry

Volume 19 , Issue 11 , 2019

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Graphical Abstract:


Type-2 Diabetes (T2D) is a metabolic disease characterized by permanent hyperglycemia, whose development can be prevented or delayed by using therapeutic agents and implementing lifestyle changes. Some therapeutic alternatives include regulation of glycemia through modulation of different mediators and enzymes, such as AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a highly relevant cellular energy sensor for metabolic homeostasis regulation, with particular relevance in the modulation of liver and muscle insulin sensitivity. This makes it a potential therapeutic target for antidiabetic drugs. In fact, some of them are standard drugs used for treatment of T2D, such as biguanides and thiazolidindiones. In this review, we compile the principal natural products that are activators of AMPK and their effect on glucose metabolism, which could make them candidates as future antidiabetic agents. Phenolics such as flavonoids and resveratrol, alkaloids such as berberine, and some saponins are potential natural activators of AMPK with a potential future as antidiabetic drugs.

Keywords: AMPK, antidiabetic drugs, medicinal plants, natural products, type 2 diabetes mellitus, antidiabetic drugs.

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