Salacinol and related analogs: new leads for type 2 diabetes therapeutic candidates from the Thai traditional natural medicine Salacia chinensis.

PMID 25734563


The antidiabetic effect of a hot water extract of stems of Salacia chinensis (SCE) was evaluated in vivo in KK-Ay mice, a typical type 2 diabetes mellitus mice model. Administration of CE-2 dietary feed containing 0.25 and/or 0.50% of SCE for three weeks to KK-Ay mice significantly suppressed the elevation of both blood glucose and HbA1c levels without significant changes in body weight or food intake. Glucose tolerance was improved by administration to KK-Ay mice for 27 days of AIN93M purified dietary feed containing 0.12% of SCE. No suppressive effect with respect to HbA1c level was observed when AIN93M/Glc dietary feed in which all digestible glucides were replaced with glucose was administered with SCE. Thus, α-glucosidase inhibitory activity approved as the mechanism of action of the antidiabetic effect of SCE by in vitro investigation was reconfirmed also in in vivo studies. Evaluation of the α-glucosidase inhibitory activity of the active constituents, salacinol (1), kotalanol (3), and neokotalanol (4), by employing human α-glucosidases revealed that these compounds inhibited them as potently (IC50 = 3.9-4.9 μM for maltase) as they inhibited rat small intestinal α-glucosidase. The principal sulfonium constituents (1-4) were highly stable in an artificial gastric juice. In addition, 1-4 were hardly absorbed from the intestine in an experiment using the in situ rat ligated intestinal loop model. The results indicate that these sulfoniums are promising leads for a new type of anti-diabetic agents.