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Comparative Effects of Stevia rebaudiana Leaves and Stevioside on Glycaemia and Hepatic Gluconeogenesis

The purpose of the present study was to compare the effect of the oral treatment (gavage) with Stevia rebaudiana (Bert.) Bertoni (SRB) and stevioside (STV) on glycaemia and gluconeogenesis of 15-h fasted rats. For this purpose, the rats received SRB (20 mg/kg x day), STV (5.5 mg/kg x day) or an equal volume of water (controls) during 15 days. To measure hepatic gluconeogenesis, liver perfusion and isolated hepatocytes were used. Glycaemia and gluconeogenesis from L-alanine (5 mM), L-glutamine (5 mM) and L-lactate (2 mM) were decreased (P < 0.05) after pre-treatment with SRB. However, the treatment with STV did not influence glycaemia and gluconeogenesis. Moreover, to get further information about the mechanism by which SRB leaves inhibit gluconeogenesis their potential role as a PPARgamma agonist was investigated. The data showed absence of activation of PPARgamma receptors. In summary, our results showed that the reduction of glycaemia promoted by the treatment with SRB leaves was mediated, at least in part, by an inhibition of hepatic gluconeogenesis. However, this effect did not involve stevioside and the activation of PPARgamma receptors.