ERYTHROCYTE SODIUM/HYDROGEN EXCHANGE INHIBITION BY (−) EPICATECHIN

Authors


Dipartimento di Medicina Interna (Clinica Medica II), via Roma, 67, 56100 Pisa, Italy. Fax: 0039-50-553414; e-mail: ematteuc@int.med.unipi.it

Abstract

Epicatechin, a flavonoid belonging to the group of compounds collectively called catechins, have been reported to possess insulin-like properties. Besides their anti-diabetic properties, catechins also show growth inhibition. Since cytosolic pH (pHi) plays a role in cell proliferation and the Na/H exchanger (NHE) is the major pH (pHi) regulatory mechanism, we undertook in vitro studies with human erythrocytes to examine the effect of (−) epicatechin (EC) on the NHE1 isoform. NHE activity was measured in eight healthy volunteers, eight type 1 diabetics, and nine type 2 diabetics, following 30min incubations at 37°C with either 1m m epicatechin, 10−9m insulin or solvent alone. NHE activity was elevated in both groups of patients (P< 0.05). Epicatechin caused a 93% decrease in Na/H antiport activity in health controls, 89 and 86% in type 1 and type 2 diabetics, respectively (P< 0.001). Insulin caused a 36% decrease in antiport activity only in the type 2 diabetic group (P< 0.05). The strong inhibition of erythrocyte NHE1 (the ubiquitously present isoform) by epicatechin may have important implications. NHE1 inhibition could be one of the major mechanisms underlying the antiproliferative effects of catechins.

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