There is evidence that hyperglycemia results in the generation of reactive oxygen species, leading to oxidative stress in various tissues, including vascular system. An important link between oxidative stress, inflammatory response and insulin activity is now well established. The ability of antioxidants to protect against the deleterious effects of hyperglycemia and also to improve glucose metabolism and intake must be considered as leads of choice in diabetes treatment. In addition to their antioxidative activity, many flavonoids were demonstrated to act on biological targets involved in type 2 diabetes mellitus such as: α-glycosidase, glucose cotransporter or aldose reductase. In this context, flavonoids behaving as antioxidants were studied as potential drugs by acting as biological targets involved in diabetes development. In this review, we propose to shed light on antioxidants flavonoids investigated as antidiabetics. A special focus was made to address the structure-activity relationship related to the effect of these naturally occurring molecules on different targets involved in diabetes development.
Keywords: Flavonoids, antioxidants, antidiabetic, inhibitors, α-glycosidase, glucose transport, aldose reductase, structure-activity relationship, mechanism of action, hyperglycemia
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