Viscothionin purified from mistletoe induces insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Viscothionin purified from mistletoe (Viscum album var. coloratum Ohwi) induces insulin secretion from pancreatic beta cells.
J Ethnopharmacol. 2019 Apr 24 ;234:172-179. Epub 2019 Jan 17. PMID: 30660712
ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Mistletoe (Viscum album), an evergreen parasitic plant, has been widely used as an oriental phytomedicine to treat diabetes mellitus. However, it is unknown which mistletoe constituent exerts the beneficial effect against the disease. In this study, we examined the hypoglycemic activity of mistletoe and investigated whether the polypeptide viscothionin, purified from mistletoe, was responsible for the activity.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Mistletoe extracts were prepared by heating mistletoe powder made of leaves and twigs in water for 3, 6, 9, and 12 h. Rat insulinoma RINm5F cells were used to test the cytotoxicity of the extracts and their effects on the secretion of insulin and its precursor, C-peptide. The inhibitory effects of a mistletoe extract on glucose absorption were measured using an α-glucosidase inhibition assay. To determine the component of mistletoe responsible for the observed effects, the mistletoe extract was precipitated with ethanol or hydrolyzed with a protease for further testing. A potential active constituent of mistletoe was isolated by chromatography and molecular weight cut-off fractionation, and its abilityto induce insulin secretion was investigated.
RESULTS: A 12-h heat-treated mistletoe extract, showing no cytotoxicity, significantly increased the secretion of insulin and C-peptide by RINm5F cells and enhanced the expression of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT-4), insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1), and protein kinase B (also known as AKT) in differentiated C2C12 cells. The extract also inhibitedα-glucosidase activity. After ethanol precipitation, the extract showed much stronger effects on insulin- and C-peptide-secreting activities of cells, whereas the enzyme-hydrolyzed extract was less effective than the original extract, suggesting that the effect was mediated by a proteinaceous constituent of mistletoe. Subsequent analysis showed that viscothionin, a heat-stable 6-kDa polypeptide isolated from mistletoe, increased the level of insulin secretion by more than 20-fold compared to that induced by the extract.
CONCLUSIONS: Our study indicates that the hypoglycemic effect of mistletoe is mediated by its insulinotropic action andα-glucosidase inhibitory activity, and the effect is due to viscothionin, one of the major bioactive constituents of mistletoe.