Chronic intake of 4-Methylimidazole induces Hyperinsulinemia and Hypoglycaemia via Pancreatic Beta Cell Hyperplasia and Glucose Dyshomeostasis

Abstract : Caramel colours are the preferential food colouring agent globally, reaches wide age groups through eatables. Colas, a sweetened carbonated drink are most common caramel coloured beverage and its consumption is linked with diabetes, obesity, pancreatic cancer and other endocrine disorders. A major by-product produced during caramelization is 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) that is detected in noteworthy concentrations in colas and other beverages. Previous studies revealed the neurotoxic and carcinogenic potential of 4-MEI in animals at higher doses but the effect of 4-MEI at theoretical maximum daily intake dose on glucose homeostasis is unexplored. Here, mice treated with 4-MEI (32 µg/kg bodyweight/day) for seven weeks exhibited severe hypoglycaemia and hyperinsulinemia mediated by hyperplasia of pancreatic beta cells and induces metabolic alterations. On combinatorial treatment, 4-MEI suppressed the glucogenic potential of non-artificial sweeteners and promotes lipogenesis. Furthermore, increased levels of C-peptide, LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides were observed in the humans with regular intake of 4-MEI containing beverages. In summary, 4-MEI induced pancreatic beta cell hyperplasia and leads to disruption of glucose and lipid homeostasis. This study suggests the need for further assessment and reconsideration of the wide usage of 4-MEI containing caramels as food additives.
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Balakrishnan Rekha, Ganesan Velmurugan, Allen Freddy, Sivakumar Anusha, Tharmarajan Ramprasath, et al.. Chronic intake of 4-Methylimidazole induces Hyperinsulinemia and Hypoglycaemia via Pancreatic Beta Cell Hyperplasia and Glucose Dyshomeostasis. Scientific Reports, Nature Publishing Group, 2018, 8 (1), pp.17037. ⟨10.1038/s41598-018-35071-6⟩. ⟨inserm-02339574⟩

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