Planta Med 2012; 78(14): 1549-1555
DOI: 10.1055/s-0032-1315041
Biological and Pharmacological Activity
Original Papers
Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Gingerols of Zingiber officinale Enhance Glucose Uptake by Increasing Cell Surface GLUT4 in Cultured L6 Myotubes

Yiming Li
1   Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Van H. Tran
1   Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Colin C. Duke
1   Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Basil D. Roufogalis
1   Faculty of Pharmacy, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
› Author Affiliations
Further Information

Publication History

received 24 February 2012
revised 13 June 2012

accepted 14 June 2012

Publication Date:
24 July 2012 (online)


In this study we investigate the active constituents of the rhizome of Zingiber officinale, Roscoe (ginger) and determine their activity on glucose uptake in cultured L6 myotubes and the molecular mechanism underlying this action. Freeze-dried ginger powder was extracted with ethyl acetate (1 kg/3 L) to give the total ginger extract, which was then separated into seven fractions, consisting of nonpolar to moderately polar compounds, using a short-column vacuum chromatographic method. The most active fraction (F7) was further purified for identification of its active components. The effect of the extract, fractions, and purified compounds on glucose uptake was evaluated using radioactive labelled 2-[1,2-3H]-deoxy-D-glucose in L6 myotubes. The pungent phenolic gingerol constituents were identified as the major active compounds in the ginger extract enhancing glucose uptake. (S)-[6]-Gingerol was the most abundant component among the gingerols, however, (S)-[8]-gingerol was the most potent on glucose uptake. The activity of (S)-[8]-gingerol was found to be associated primarily with an increase in surface distribution of GLUT4 protein on the L6 myotube plasma membrane, as detected by expression of hemagglutinin epitope-tagged GLUT4 in L6 muscle cells. The enhancement of glucose uptake in L6 rat skeletal muscle cells by the gingerol pungent principles of the ginger extract supports the potential of ginger and its pungent components for the prevention and management of hyperglycemia and type 2 diabetes.

Supporting Information

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