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Histochemistry and immunolocalisation of glucokinin in antidiabetic plants used in traditional Mexican medicine

Guillermo Laguna-Hernández, Carlos A. Rio-Zamorano, Itzel G. Meneses-Ochoa, Alicia E. Brechú-Franco
  • Guillermo Laguna-Hernández
    National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
  • Carlos A. Rio-Zamorano
    National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico
  • Itzel G. Meneses-Ochoa
    National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico


Mexico is a megadiverse country that has 3,600 to 4,000 species of medicinal plants, of which approximately 800 are used to treat conditions related to diabetes mellitus (DM). DM is a chronic degenerative disease of energy metabolism that exists as two types: type 1 (DM1) and type 2 (DM2). DM is considered a public health problem that affects 7% of the Mexican population older than 20 years. DM is clinically controlled with hypoglycaemic drugs, alpha-glucosidase inhibitors, insulin secretion stimulants or the direct application of insulin. The hypoglycaemic effectiveness of specific molecules has been determined only for some medicinal plants in Mexico used to treat DM2. The presence of molecules called glucokinins, wich are similar to animal insulin molecules, has been reported in some plant species; glucokinins act as both growth factors and regulators of glucose metabolism in plants. Therefore, we hypothesized that the hypoglycaemic effectiveness of some of the popularly used species for the control of DM could be due to the presence of glucokinin, as reported for Bauhinia variegata. The goal of this work was to use histochemistry to detect, the accumulation of protein that is immunocytochemically compatible with glucokinin in slide sections of hypoglycaemic species used as remedies for DM2. The top fourteen most used medicinal plants in Mexico were selected for study via microscopic sections. Proteins were histochemically detected using naphthol blue black and Johansen’s quadruple stain, and the immunocytochemical correspondence of the proteins with glucokinin was investigated using an insulin antibody. All species studied reacted positively to proteins and glucokinin in the same structures. The presence of glucokinin in these structures and the corresponding hypoglycaemic effects are discussed in the contex of the actions of other compounds.


Hypoglycaemic plants; diabetes mellitus; glucokinin; histochemistry; immunolocalisation; Mexican herbal medicine.

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Submitted: 2017-02-21 21:38:06
Published: 2017-06-21 14:43:52
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Copyright (c) 2017 Guillermo Laguna-Hernández, Carlos A. Río-Zamorano, Itzel G. Meneses-Ochoa, Alicia E. Brechú-Franco

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