Gluc-HET, a complementary chick embryo model for the characterization of antidiabetic compounds

Renate Haselgrübler, Flora Stübl, Katja Essl, Marcus Iken, Klaus Schröder, Julian Weghuber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Insulin resistance and β cell failure are the main causes of elevated blood glucose levels in Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), a complex and multifactorial metabolic disease. Several medications to treat or reduce the symptoms of T2DM are used, including the injection of insulin and the application of insulin sensitizing or glucose production reducing drugs. Furthermore, the use of phytochemicals has attracted increasing attention for the therapy and prevention of T2DM. In order to identify and characterize antidiabetic compounds, efficient test systems are required. Here we present a modified chick embryo model (hens egg test, HET), which has originally been developed to determine the potential irritancy of chemicals, as a versatile tool for the characterization of phytochemicals with antidiabetic properties. We termed this modified assay variation Gluc-HET. More precisely, we determined the influence of variations in the incubation time of the fertilized eggs and studied the effects of different buffer parameters, such as the temperature, composition and volume, used for drug application. In addition, we tested several putative antidiabetic plant extracts, which have been identified in an in-vitro primary screening procedure, for their effectiveness in reducing blood glucose levels in-ovo. Taken together, our Gluc-HET model has proven to be a reliable and manageable system for the characterization of antidiabetic compounds
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0182788
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017


  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose/analysis
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental/drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/drug therapy
  • Female
  • Hypoglycemic Agents/pharmacology
  • Phytochemicals/pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts/pharmacology


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