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Washington: A new study has revealed that a plant hormone may play a vital role in blood sugar control and diabetes management.

Scientists from Italy have found that when the plant and mammal hormone, abscisic acid, is taken in low doses, glycemia in both rats and humans is reduced.

This suggested that by reducing the chronic stimulation by hyperglycemia of B-cells to the release of insulin, chronic low-dose abscisic acid administration might prolong the survival and function of these cells.

Researcher Mirko Magnone of the University of Genova said that these results aimed at developing new pharmacologic approaches for diabetes prevention and treatment.

In the study, scientists examined the presence of abscisic acid in plants and fruits and explored the effect of abscisic acid-rich vegetable extracts on glycemia in rats and in humans.

Synthetic abscisic acid, an abscisic acid-rich fruit extract, or placebo was administered to rats together with an oral glucose load. Then glycemia and insulinemia profiles were compared.

Then a fruit extract or placebo was administered to human volunteers together with an oral glucose load or with a standard breakfast and lunch. Glucose and insulin levels were then compared with and without abscisic acid.

Glycemia and insulinemia profiles from the human oral glucose tolerance tests were also compared with those from 12 normal subjects undergoing a standard oral glucose tolerance test.

Researchers said that high blood sugar levels predicted the later consequences of diabetes, and while this hormone might not be a cure for diabetes, it should prove very useful in helping to control progression of the disease.

The study is published in the Journal FASEB Journal.