Glabridin induces glucose uptake via the AMP-activated protein kinase pathway in muscle cells

Keisuke Sawada, Yoko Yamashita, Tianshun Zhang, Kaku Nakagawa, Hitoshi Ashida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The present study demonstrates that glabridin, a prenylated isoflavone in licorice, stimulates glucose uptake through the adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway in L6 myotubes. Treatment with glabridin for 4. h induced glucose uptake in a dose-dependent manner accompanied by the translocation of glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane. Glabridin needed at least 4. h to increase glucose uptake, while it significantly decreased glycogen and increased lactic acid within 15. min. Pharmacological inhibition of AMPK by Compound C suppressed the glabridin-induced glucose uptake, whereas phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Akt inhibition by LY294002 and Akt1/2 inhibitor, respectively, did not. Furthermore, glabridin induced AMPK phosphorylation, and siRNA for AMPK completely abolished glabridin-induced glucose uptake. We confirmed that glabridin-rich licorice extract prevent glucose intolerance accompanied by the AMPK-dependent GLUT4 translocation in the plasma membrane of mice skeletal muscle. These results indicate that glabridin may possess a therapeutic effect on metabolic disorders, such as diabetes and hyperglycemia, by modulating glucose metabolism through AMPK in skeletal muscle cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)99-108
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 5 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Part of this study was supported by Special Coordination Funds for Promoting Science and Technology , Creation of Innovation Centers for Advanced Interdisciplinary Research Areas (Innovative Bioproduction Kobe), MEXT, Japan.


  • Adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase
  • Glabridin
  • Glucose transporter type 4
  • Glucose uptake
  • Muscle cells

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