Fermented milk, Kefram-Kefir enhances glucose uptake into insulin-responsive muscle cells

Kiichiro Teruya, Maiko Yamashita, Rumi Tominaga, Tsutomu Nagira, Sun Yup Shim, Yoshinori Katakura, Sennosuke Tokumaru, Koichiro Tokumaru, David Barnes, Sanetaka Shirahata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Diminution of insulin-responses in the target organ is the primary cause of non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM). It is thought to be correlated to the excessive production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). In this article, we attempted to evaluate whether fermented milk, Kefram-Kefir known as an antioxidant, reduces the cellular ROS levels and can stimulate the glucose uptake in L6 skeletal muscle cells. Water-soluble or chloroform/methanol-extracted fractions from Kefram-Kefir were examined to evaluate the glucose uptake ability of L6 myotubes. As a result, the water-soluble fraction augmented the uptake of glucose in L6 myotubes both in the presence and absence of insulin stimulation. Estimation of intracellular ROS level revealed that the water-soluble fraction of Kefram-Kefir reduced the intracellular ROS level on both the undifferentiated and differentiated L6 cells. Especially, glucose uptake was augmented up to six times with the addition of water-soluble fraction in the insulin-stimulated L6 myotubes. Glucose transport determination revealed that the active agent in KeframKefir was resistant to autoclave and stable in pH range from 4 to 10, and the small molecule below the molecular weight of 1000. Furthermore, this augmentation was inhibited in the presence of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI 3-kinase) inhibitor wortmannin. Considering together with the reports that PI 3-kinase is located in the insulin signaling pathway and the participation in the translocation of glucose transporter 4 to the cell membrane, it is suggested that the water-soluble fraction of Kefram-Kefir activates PI 3-kinase or other upstream molecules in the insulin signaling pathway, which resulted in the augmentation of glucose uptake and its specific inhibition by wortmannin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-116
Number of pages10
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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