An In-ovo Model for Testing Insulin-Mimetic Compounds

Renate Haselgrübler, Flora Stübl, Verena Stadlbauer, Peter Lanzerstorfer, Julian Weghuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Elevated blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a complex and multifactorial metabolic disease, are caused by insulin resistance and β-cell failure. Various strategies, including the injection of insulin or the usage of insulin-sensitizing drugs, were pursued to treat T2DM or at least reduce the symptoms. In addition, the application of herbal compounds has attracted increasing attention. Thus, it is necessary to find efficient test systems to identify and characterize insulin-mimetic compounds. Here we developed a modified chick embryo model, which enables testing of synthetic compounds and herbal extracts with insulin-mimetic properties. Using a fluorescence microscopy-based primary screen, which quantifies the translocation of Glucose transporter 4 (Glut4) to the plasma membrane, we were able to identify compounds, mainly herbal extracts, which lead to an increase of intracellular glucose concentrations in adipocytes. However, the efficacy of these substances requires further verification in a living organism. Thus, we used an in-ovo approach to identify their blood glucose-reducing properties. The approval by an ethics committee is not needed since the use of chicken embryos during the first two-thirds of embryonic development is not considered an animal experiment. Here, the application of this model is described in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere57237
Issue number134
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2018


  • Antidiabetic plant extracts
  • Hens Egg Test (HET)
  • In-ovo test system
  • Issue 134
  • Neuroscience
  • Phytochemicals
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM)
  • Chick Embryo
  • Insulin/pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Female
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2
  • Disease Models, Animal


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