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This study was to investigate the anti-diabetic effects and molecular mechanisms of Tang-Kang-Fu-San (TKFS), a traditional Tibetan medicine, in treating type 2 diabetes mellitus of spontaneous diabetic db/db mice. Firstly HPLC fingerprint analysis was performed to gain the features of the chemical compositions of TKFS. Next different doses of TKFS (0.5 g/kg, 1.0 g/kg, and 2.0 g/kg) were administrated via oral gavage to db/db mice and their controls for 4 weeks. TKFS significantly lowered hyperglycemia and ameliorated insulin resistance (IR) in db/db mice, indicated by results from multiple tests, including fasting blood glucose test, intraperitoneal insulin and glucose tolerance tests, fasting serum insulin levels and homeostasis model assessment of IR analysis as well as histology of pancreas islets. TKFS also decreased concentrations of serum triglyceride, total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, even though it did not change the mouse body weights. Results from western blot and immunohistochemistry analysis indicated that TKFS reversed the down-regulation of p-Akt and p-AMPK, and increased the translocation of Glucose transporter type 4 in skeletal muscles of db/db mice. In all, TKFS had promising benefits in maintaining the glucose homeostasis and reducing IR. The underlying molecular mechanisms are related to promote Akt and AMPK activation and Glucose transporter type 4 translocation in skeletal muscles. Our work showed that multicomponent Tibetan medicine TKFS acted synergistically on multiple molecular targets and signaling pathways to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus.

The aim of this study was to investigate the antidiabetic effects of a Tibetan medicine, Tang-Kang-Fu-San (TKFS), on experimental type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) rats and to explore its underlying mechanisms. Firstly two major chemical compositions of TKFS, gallic acid and curcumin, were characterized by HPLC fingerprint analysis. Next T2DM in rats was induced by high-fat diet and a low-dose streptozotocin (STZ 35 mg/kg). Then oral gavage administration of three different doses of TKFS (0.3 g/kg, 0.6 g/kg, and 1.2 g/kg) was given to T2DM rats. Experimental results showed that TKFS dramatically reduced the levels of fasting blood glucose, fasting blood insulin, triglyceride, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and HDL cholesterol, even though it did not alter the animal body weight. The downregulation of phosphorylation-AKT (p-AKT) and glucose transporter-4 (GLUT4) in skeletal muscle of T2DM rats was restored and abnormal pathological changes in pancreas tissues were also improved. Our work showed that TKFS could alleviate diabetic syndromes, maintain the glucose homeostasis, and protect against insulin resistance in T2DM rats, and the improvement of AKT phosphorylation and GLUT4 translocation in skeletal muscle would be one of its possible underlying mechanisms.