Screening native botanicals for bioactivity: An interdisciplinary approach.

Nutrition (Burbank, Los Angeles County, Calif.)

PubMedID: 24985099

Boudreau A, Cheng DM, Ruiz C, Ribnicky D, Allain L, Brassieur CR, Turnipseed DP, Cefalu WT, Floyd ZE. Screening native botanicals for bioactivity: An interdisciplinary approach. Nutrition. 2014;30(7-8 Suppl):S11-6.
OBJECTIVE
Plant-based therapies have been used in medicine throughout recorded history. Information about the therapeutic properties of plants often can be found in local cultures as folk medicine is communicated from one generation to the next. The aim of this study was to identify native Louisiana plants from Creole folk medicine as a potential source of therapeutic compounds for the treatment of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and related disorders.

METHODS
We used an interdisciplinary approach combining expertise in disciplines ranging from cultural anthropology and botany to biochemistry and endocrinology to screen native southwest Louisiana plants. Translation of accounts of Creole folk medicine yielded a list of plants with documented use in treating a variety of conditions, including inflammation. These plants were collected, vouchered, and catalogued before extraction of soluble components. Extracts were analyzed for bioactivity in regulating inflammatory responses in macrophages or fatty acid-induced insulin resistance in C2C12 skeletal muscle cells.

RESULTS
Several extracts altered gene expression of inflammatory markers in macrophages. Multiplex analysis of kinase activation in insulin-signaling pathways in skeletal muscle also identified a subset of extracts that alter insulin-stimulated protein kinase B phosphorylation in the presence of fatty-acid-induced insulin resistance.

CONCLUSION
An interdisciplinary approach to screening botanical sources of therapeutic agents can be successfully applied to identify native plants used in folk medicine as potential sources of therapeutic agents in treating insulin resistance in skeletal muscle or inflammatory processes associated with obesity-related insulin resistance.