A High-Content Screen for the Identification of Plant Extracts with Insulin Secretion-Modulating Activity

Roland Hager, Johannes Pitsch, Jakob Kerbl-Knapp, Cathrina Neuhauser, Nicole Ollinger, Marcus Iken, Josef Ranner, Verena Mittermeier-Kleßinger, Corinna Dawid, Peter Lanzerstorfer, Julian Weghuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Bioactive plant compounds and extracts are of special interest for the development of pharmaceuticals. Here, we describe the screening of more than 1100 aqueous plant extracts and synthetic reference compounds for their ability to stimulate or inhibit insulin secretion. To quantify insulin secretion in living MIN6 β cells, an insulin–Gaussia luciferase (Ins-GLuc) biosensor was used. Positive hits included extracts from Quillaja saponaria, Anagallis arvensis, Sapindus mukorossi, Gleditsia sinensis and Albizia julibrissin, which were identified as insulin secretion stimulators, whereas extracts of Acacia catechu, Myrtus communis, Actaea spicata L., Vaccinium vitis-idaea and Calendula officinalis were found to exhibit insulin secretion inhibitory properties. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) were used to characterize several bioactive compounds in the selected plant extracts, and these bioactives were retested for their insulin-modulating properties. Overall, we identified several plant extracts and some of their bioactive compounds that may be used to manipulate pancreatic insulin secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number809
Pages (from-to)1-23
Number of pages23
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2021


  • Bioactives
  • Diabetes
  • GC-MS
  • Insulin
  • LC-MS
  • Luciferase
  • Natural compounds
  • Natural plant extracts
  • Screening
  • Western blotting
  • β cells


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