Effects of crocin and voluntary exercise, alone or combined, on heart VEGF-A and HOMA-IR of HFD/STZ induced type 2 diabetic rats.
J Endocrinol Invest. 2016 Apr 19. Epub 2016 Apr 19. PMID: 27094045
BACKGROUND: Hyperglycemia is the main risk factor for microvascular complications in type 2 diabetes. Crocin and voluntary exercise have anti-hyperglycemic effects in diabetes. In this research, we evaluated the effects of crocin and voluntary exercise alone or combined on glycemia control and heart level of VEGF-A.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Animals were divided into eight groups as: control (con), diabetes (Dia), crocin (Cro), voluntary exercise (Exe), crocin and voluntary exercise (Cro-Exe), diabetic-crocin (Dia-Cro), diabetic-voluntary exercise (Dia-Exe), diabetic-crocin-voluntary exercise (Dia-Cro-Exe). Type 2 diabetes was induced by a high-fat diet (4 weeks) and injection of streptozotocin (STZ) (i.p, 35 mg/kg). Animals received oral administration of crocin (50 mg/kg) or performed voluntary exercise alone or together for 8 weeks. Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was performed on overnight fasted control, diabetic and treated rats after 8 weeks of treatment. Then, serum insulin and heart VEGF-A protein levels were measured.
RESULTS: Crocin combined with voluntary exercise significantly decreased blood glucose levels (p < 0.001) and insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) (p < 0.001) compared to diabetic group. VEGF-A level was significantly (p < 0.01) lower in Dia group compared to control group. The combination of crocin and voluntary exercise significantly enhanced VEGF-A protein levels in Dia-Cro-Exe and Cro-Exe group compared to diabetic and control groups, respectively; p < 0.001 and p < 0.05.
DISCUSSION: Crocin combined with voluntary exercise improved insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and reduced glucose levels in diabetic rats. Since both crocin and voluntary exercise can increase VEGF-A protein expression in heart tissue, they probably are able to increase angiogenesis in diabetic animals.