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Review Article

Unraveling the Inhibition of Intestinal Glucose Transport by Dietary Phenolics: A Review

[ Vol. 25 , Issue. 32 ]


Joana Pico and Mario M. Martínez*   Pages 3418 - 3433 ( 16 )


Background: Glucose transport across the intestinal brush border membrane plays a key role in metabolic regulation. Depending on the luminal glucose concentration, glucose is mainly transported by the sodium- dependent glucose transporter (SGLT1) and the facilitated-transporter glucose transporter (GLUT2). SGLT1 is apical membrane-constitutive and it is active at a low luminal glucose concentration, while at concentrations higher than 50 mM, glucose is mainly transported by GLUT2 (recruited from the basolateral membrane). Dietary phenolic compounds can modulate glucose homeostasis by decreasing the postprandial glucose response through the inhibition of SGLT1 and GLUT2.

Methods: Phenolic inhibition of intestinal glucose transport has been examined using brush border membrane vesicles from rats, pigs or rabbits, Xenopus oocytes and more recently Caco-2 cells, which are the most promising for harmonizing in vitro experiments.

Results: Phenolic concentrations above 100 µM has been proved to successfully inhibit the glucose transport. Generally, the aglycones quercetin, myricetin, fisetin or apigenin have been reported to strongly inhibit GLUT2, while quercetin-3-O-glycoside has been demonstrated to be more effective in SGLT1. Additionally, epigallocatechin as well as epicatechin and epigallocatechin gallates were observed to be inhibited on both SGLT1 and GLUT2.

Conclusion: Although, valuable information regarding the phenolic glucose transport inhibition is known, however, there are some disagreements about which flavonoid glycosides and aglycones exert significant inhibition, and also the inhibition of phenolic acids remains unclear. This review aims to collect, compare and discuss the available information and controversies about the phenolic inhibition of glucose transporters. A detailed discussion on the physicochemical mechanisms involved in phenolics-glucose transporters interactions is also included.


Brush border membrane, Caco-2 cells, glucose transporters, GLUT2, phenolic compounds, SGLT1, transport inhibition.


School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1, School of Engineering, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON, N1G 2W1

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