Erythritol attenuates postprandial blood glucose by inhibiting α-glucosidase

Huaixiu Wen, Bowen Tang, Alan J. Stewart, Yanduo Tao, Yun Shao, Yulei Cui, Huilan Yue, Jinjin Pei, Zenggen Liu, Lijuan Mei, Ruitao Yu, Lei Jiang

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Diabetes mellitus (DM) is a serious metabolic disorder where impaired postprandial blood glucose regulation often leads to severe health complications. The natural chemical, erythritol is a C4 polyol approved by FDA for use as a sweetener. Here we examined a potential role for erythritol in the control of postprandial blood glucose levels in DM. An anti-postprandial hyperglycemia effect upon erythritol administration (500 mg kg-1) was demonstrated in alloxan-induced DM model mice by monitoring changes in blood glucose after intragastric administration of drugs and starch. We also found that erythritol most likely exerts its anti-postprandial hyperglycemic activities by inhibiting α-glucosidase in a competitive manner. This was supported by enzyme activity assays and molecular modelling experiments. In the latter experiments it was possible to successful dock erythritol into the catalytic pocket of α-glucosidase, with the resultant interaction likely to be driven by electrostatic interactions involving Asp 215, Asp69 and Arg446 residues. This study suggests that erythritol may not only serve as a glucose substitute but may also be a useful agent in the treatment of diabetes mellitus to help manage postprandial blood glucose levels.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1401-1407
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number6
Early online date23 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Postprandial blood glucose
  • Erythritol
  • α-glucosidase


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