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Open Access Research

Allantoin activates imidazoline I-3 receptors to enhance insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells

Cheng-Chia Tsai, Li-Jen Chen, Ho-Shan Niu, Kun-Ming Chung, Juei-Tang Cheng and Kao-Chang Lin

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Nutrition & Metabolism 2014, 11:41  doi:10.1186/1743-7075-11-41

Published: 31 August 2014

Abstract (provisional)


Imidazoline I3 receptors (I-3R) can regulate insulin secretion in pancreatic beta-cells. It has been indicated that allantoin ameliorates hyperglycemia by activating imidazoline I2 receptors (I-2R). Thus, the effect of allantoin on I-3R is identified in the present study.


We used male Wistar rats to screen allantoin's ability for lowering of blood glucose and stimulation of insulin secretion. Chinese hamster ovary-K1 cells transfected with imidazoline receptors (NISCH-CHO-K1 cells) were also applied to characterize the direct effect of allantoin on this receptor. Additionally, KU14R as specific antagonist was treated to block I-3R in rats and in the cultured pancreatic beta-cells named Min 6 cells.


In rats, allantoin decreased blood sugar with an increase in plasma insulin. Also, allantoin enhanced calcium influx into NISCH-CHO-K1 cells in a way similar to agmatine, an I-R agonist. Moreover, KU14R dose-dependently blocked allantoin-induced insulin secretion both in Min 6 cells and in Wistar rats.


Allantoin can activate I-3R to enhance insulin secretion for lowering of blood sugar in Wistar rats. Thus, allantoin may provide beneficial effects as a supplement for diabetic patients after clinical trials.

The complete article is available as a provisional PDF. The fully formatted PDF and HTML versions are in production.