While type 2 diabetes is an increasing problem worldwide, there is still no cure and therefore search for the new insulin sensitizer continues. Plants are a natural source of bioactive compounds and have been used to improve human health and wellbeing for centuries. Today, several studies concentrate on screening plant extracts commonly used in folk medicine for pure compounds, exploiting promising results in treatment of, among others, type 2 diabetes. Another area of diabetes research, focused on the complex biology of adipose tissue and its influence on the development of insulin resistance. Moreover, the crosstalk between gut bacteria and insulin sensitive tissues like fat, pancreas and skeletal muscle has received much attention and all aspects are important in order to better understand the basics of this disease.
This PhD thesis is based on 5 scientific papers focusing on plant derived compounds and their influence on adipocyte differentiation, lipid storage, glucose uptake and gut microbiota.