Researchers at the Salk Institute's Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory say fisetin, a naturally-occurring flavonoid found most abundantly in strawberries and to a lesser extent in other fruits and vegetables, lessens complications of diabetes.
"This manuscript describes for the first time a drug that prevents both kidney and brain complications in a type 1 diabetes mouse model," co-author David Schubert, professor and head of the Cellular Neurobiology Laboratory, says in a statement.
Corresponding author Pam Maher, a senior staff scientist in the CNL, initially identified fisetin as a neuroprotective flavonoid 10 years ago, which may provide the protective effect of the Mediterranean Diet.
In the study, mice fed a fisetin-enriched diet remained diabetic, but acute kidney enlargement-or hypertrophy-seen in untreated mice was reversed and high urine protein levels -- a sure sign of kidney disease -- fell, Maher says.
Researchers observed that blood and brain levels of sugars affixed to proteins known as advanced glycation end-products were reduced in fisetin-treated mice. Excessively high advanced glycation end-products also correlate with inflammatory activity thought to promote some cancers, the study says.
The findings are published in PLoS ONE.