Research may provide solutions for the future treatment of diabetes

March 9, 2017, University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry
Credit: University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Jason Dyck has long believed in the beneficial properties of resveratrol—a powerful antioxidant produced by some plants to protect against environmental stresses. The professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta has spent years studying the natural compound, exploring its potential benefits for exercise performance, reduced blood pressure and heart health. Now his work is revealing resveratrol's potential for the treatment of diabetes.

Although studies in obese patients treated with resveratrol have shown to be effective at lowering , the amount of resveratrol found circulating in the blood is very low, leaving scientists questioning how resveratrol is working. In a new study published in the journal Diabetes, researchers at the U of A examined the impact of resveratrol on the community of bacteria, or microbiome, in the gut of . The team found that feeding resveratrol to obese mice over a period of 6 weeks altered the makeup of the bacteria in their intestines, improving glucose tolerance.

To expand upon the findings, the scientists conducted a second experiment in which they fed healthy mice resveratrol for 8 weeks. From those mice, they collected fecal waste for the purpose of into obese mice with insulin resistance. The results from these fecal transplants were striking, with more dramatic and rapid effects than giving the mice resveratrol orally.

"Whatever was in this fecal material was more potent and efficacious than the resveratrol itself," says Dyck, also a member of the Alberta Diabetes Institute. "We performed fecal transplants in pre-diabetic obese mice and within two weeks their blood sugar levels were almost back to normal."

Dyck says his team was initially unsure if the fecal transplant was altering the gut microbiome in the mice or if it was producing a metabolite that was behind the effect. However, he is now convinced that the dramatic change is actually the result of an unknown metabolite in the fecal matter.

"I believe that there's something else in the mix that's causing this improvement in glucose homeostasis in obese mice," says Dyck. "We're trying to isolate this unknown compound, with the hopes of using it as a potential treatment for impaired in obesity."

"To me, this is very exciting," he adds. "If there's a small molecule in the fecal material that we can identify, we may be able to rapidly advance this into human testing."

The team believes the findings could open the door to new therapies for diabetes patients in the future. Dyck though says it is already clear that their work is far from done.

"It's going to take a herculean effort to find what that molecule is" says Dyck. "Maybe it's one, maybe it's a combination of four or five, or maybe even a hundred. We don't know, but we intend to find out."

Explore further: Resveratrol preserves neuromuscular synapses, muscle fibers in aging mice

More information: Miranda M. Sung et al, Improved Glucose Homeostasis in Obese Mice Treated With Resveratrol Is Associated With Alterations in the Gut Microbiome, Diabetes (2017). DOI: 10.2337/db16-0680

Related Stories

Resveratrol preserves neuromuscular synapses, muscle fibers in aging mice

March 7, 2017
Scientists have discovered that resveratrol, a compound in the skin of red grapes and red wine, and metformin, a drug often prescribed to fight type 2 diabetes, have many of the neuroprotective benefits of a low-calorie diet ...

Resveratrol may be a natural exercise performance enhancer: researchers

June 19, 2012
A natural compound found in some fruits, nuts and red wine may enhance exercise training and performance, demonstrates newly published medical research from the University of Alberta.

Resveratrol doesn't improve insulin sensitivity

October 24, 2016
(HealthDay)—Resveratrol supplementation does not improve hepatic or peripheral insulin sensitivity among patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published online Oct. 7 in Diabetes Care.

Resveratrol has no effect in healthy obese men, study finds

April 8, 2013
(HealthDay)—Resveratrol appears not to have a metabolic effect in obese men, according to a study published in the April issue of Diabetes.

Resveratrol reverses heart damage in mice with Chagas disease

October 27, 2016
Resveratrol is the antioxidant found in red wine and famous as a food supplement capable of mimicking the effects of exercise and low calorie diets in the heart. Now Vilar-Pereira and colleagues show that treatment with resveratrol ...

Targeting the gut microbiome to fight heart disease

April 5, 2016
A compound found in red wine, resveratrol, reduces the risk of heart disease by changing the gut microbiome, according to a new study by researchers from China. The study is published in mBio, an open-access journal published ...

Recommended for you

Deep brain stimulation found to improve diabetes symptoms

May 24, 2018
A team of researchers from several institutions in the Netherlands and Yale University in the U.S. has found evidence that suggests deep brain stimulation (DBS) can help treat type 2 diabetes. In their paper published in ...

Women with pregnancy-related diabetes may be at risk for chronic kidney disease

May 21, 2018
Gestational diabetes may predispose women to early-stage kidney damage, a precursor to chronic kidney disease, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and other institutions. The study appears ...

Diabetes researchers find switch for fatty liver disease

May 17, 2018
Duke researchers have identified a key fork in the road for the way the liver deals with carbohydrates, fats and protein. They say it could be a promising new target for combating the pandemics of fatty liver disease and ...

New study of youth with type 1 diabetes connects 'honeymoon period' with lower LDL cholesterol

May 17, 2018
A new study by UMass Medical School physician-scientist Benjamin U. Nwosu, MD, finds that children with type 1 diabetes who experienced a partial clinical remission, or "honeymoon phase," had significantly lower low-density ...

"Living drug factories" may one day replace injections

May 17, 2018
Patients with diabetes generally rely on constant injections of insulin to control their disease. But MIT spinout Sigilon Therapeutics is developing an implantable, insulin-producing device that may one day make injections ...

Boosting the effects of vitamin D to tackle diabetes

May 10, 2018
More than 27 million people in the United States are living with type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As the population ages and a growing percentage of people become overweight or ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.