Probiotic treatment reduces blood glucose levels and increases systemic absorption of gliclazide in diabetic rats

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The action of gliclazide, a sulphonylurea with beneficial extrapancreatic effects in diabetes, may be enhanced by administering probiotics. The aim of this study was to investigate the influence of probiotics on gliclazide pharmacokinetics and the effect of both probiotics and gliclazide on blood glucose levels in healthy and diabetic rats. Male Wistar rats (2 to 3 months, weight 350 ± 50 g) were randomly allocated to 4 groups (n =10), two of which were treated with alloxan i.v. 30 mg/kg to induce diabetes. One group of healthy and one group of diabetic rats were then gavaged with probiotics (75 mg/kg) for three days after which a gliclazide suspension (20 mg/kg) was administered by gavage to all groups. Blood samples were collected from the tail vein at various time points for 10 hours post-administration for the determination of blood glucose and gliclazide serum concentrations. It was found that probiotic treatment had no effect on blood glucose levels in healthy rats, but it reduced them (up to 2-fold;p < 0.01) in diabetic rats. Probiotic treatment reduced gliclazide bioavailability in healthy rats (3-fold) whereas it increased gliclazide bioavailability in diabetic rats (2-fold;p < 0.01). Gliclazide had no effect on blood glucose levels in either healthy or diabetic rats despite the changes in its bioavailability. In conclusion, the probiotic treatment of diabetic rats increases gliclazide bioavailability and lowers blood glucose levels by insulin-independent mechanisms, suggesting that the administration of probiotics may be beneficial as adjunct therapy in the treatment of diabetes.