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Open Access Research article

Effect of long-term supplementation of low molecular weight chitosan oligosaccharide (GO2KA1) on fasting blood glucose and HbA1c in db/db mice model and elucidation of mechanism of action

Jong-Gwan Kim1, Sung-Hoon Jo2, Kyoung-Soo Ha2, Sung-Chul Kim1, Young-Cheul Kim3, Emmanouil Apostolidis4 and Young-In Kwon2*

  • * Corresponding author: Young-In Kwon

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Kunpoong Bio Co., Ltd., Gumnung-ri, 407–11, Hallim-eup, Jeju Special Self Governing Province, Jeju 695-923, Korea

2 Department of Food and Nutrition, Hannam University, Daejeon 305-811, Korea

3 Department of Nutrition, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, USA

4 Department of Chemistry and Food Science, Framingham State University, Framingham, MA 01701, USA

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:272  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-272

Published: 29 July 2014



Type 2 diabetes is a serious problem for developed countries. Prevention of prediabetes progression to type 2 diabetes with the use of natural products appears to a cost-effective solution. Previously we showed that enzymatically digested low molecular weight chitosan-oligosaccharide with molecular weight (MW) below 1,000 Da (GO2KA1) has potential for hyperglycemia management.


In this study we evaluated the effect of long-term supplementation of GO2KA1 on hyperglycemia using a db/db mice model. Additionally, we evaluated the effect of GO2KA1 on sucrase and glucoamylase activities and expression, using the same db/db mice model.


After 42 days we observed that GO2KA1 supplementation reduced both the blood glucose level and HbA1c in a similar manner with a known anti-diabetic drug, acarbose. When the sucrase and glucoamylase activities of GO2KA1 and control mice were evaluated using enzymatic assay, we observed that GO2KA1 significantly inhibited sucrase in all 3 parts of the intestine, while glucoamylase activity was significantly reduced only in the middle and lower part. When the sucrase-isomaltase (SI) complex expression on mRNA level was evaluated, we observed that GO2KA1 had minimal inhibitory effect on the upper part, more pronounced inhibitory effect on the middle part, while the highest inhibition was observed on the lower part. Our findings suggest that long-term GO2KA1 supplementation in db/db mice results to significant blood glucose and HbA1c reduction, to levels similar with those of acarbose. Furthermore, our findings confirm previous in vitro observations that GO2KA1 has inhibitory effect on carbohydrate hydrolysis enzymes, namely sucrase, maltase and SI complex.


Results from this study provide a strong rationale for the use of GO2KA1 for type 2 diabetes prevention, via inhibition of carbohydrate hydrolysis enzymes. Based on the findings of this animal trial, clinical trials will be designed and pursued.

Type 2 diabetes; Pre-diabetes; Blood glucose; Glucosidase inhibitors; Low molecular chitosan oligosacharide; GO2KA1