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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BHNRC) » Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center » Diet, Genomics and Immunology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #225012

Title: Cinnamon: Molecular evidence for the health benefits through its insulin-like and anti-inflammatory effects

item Cao, Heping
item Urban, Joseph
item Anderson, Richard

Submitted to: Comprehensive Bioactive Natural Products
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/26/2008
Publication Date: 1/4/2010
Citation: Cao, H., Urban Jr, J.F., Anderson, R.A. 2010. Cinnamon: Molecular evidence for the health benefits through its insulin-like and anti-inflammatory effects. In: Gupta V.K., Taneja, S.C., Gupta, B.D., editors. Comprehensive Bioactive Natural Products, Vol.6 - Extraction, Isolation & Characterization. Studium Press LLC, USA. p203-227.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The number of overweight and obese Americans has increased since the 1960s, and obesity may be responsible for as many as 300,000 deaths and medical costs in excess of $100 billion annually in the U.S. alone. Drugs to reduce obesity and related disorders have been largely ineffective, resulting in the evaluation of complementary and alternative approaches to control disease. A number of bioactive plant components have been tested, including cinnamon which is used to alleviate the signs and symptoms of insulin resistance and type-2 diabetes due to its insulin-like activity. This study tested the hypothesis that a cinnamon polyphenol extract (CPE) induces molecular changes that contribute to its insulin-like and anti-inflammatory properties. Real-time PCR was used to compare the effects of CPE and insulin on the expression of 43 genes encoding glucose transporter (GLUT) family, insulin signaling components, anti-inflammatory tristetraprolin (TTP) family, and pro-inflammatory cytokines in cultured mouse adipocytes and RAW cell line macrophages. The major findings are: 1) CPE, but not insulin, significantly increased GLUT1 mRNA levels up to 7- and 3-fold in adipocytes and macrophages, respectively; 2) CPE increased TTP mRNA levels up to 10- and 2-fold over 2-16 h in adipocytes and macrophages, respectively; 3) Insulin stimulated TTP gene expression, but its effect returned to baseline levels within 2 h; 4) VEGFA mRNA levels were decreased 50% in both cell systems treated with CPE or insulin; and 5) CPE and insulin decreased the expression of most genes encoding insulin signaling pathway proteins. The insulin-like effects of CPE include rapid induction of TTP and reduction of VEGFA and insulin signaling pathway gene expression. CPE, unlike insulin, induces sustained GLUT1 and TTP expression. This is important because GLUT1 is a major glucose transporter, and the absence of TTP protein exacerbates arthritis and autoimmune diseases, and expression is reduced in adipose tissue of obese people with metabolic syndrome and the brains of suicide victims. This study also shows that CPE regulates the expression VEGF which is a proangiogenic cytokine responsible for new blood vessel formation in adipose tissue and solid tumor.