The prevalence of type 2 diabetes mellitus is increasing rapidly, and its treatment with pioglitazone is likely to induce rhabdomyolysis. We aimed to determine the effect of cotreatment with pioglitazone and red mold dioscorea (RMD) produced by Monascus purpureus NTU 568 on pancreas function in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. In diabetic rats fed RMD, RMD with pioglitazone, and pioglitazone alone, insulin concentrations increased significantly by 18.6-40.4%, 64.0-100.0%, and 52.8%, respectively, compared with that in the diabetic group (p < 0.05). Oral glucose tolerance was impaired in the STZ-induced diabetic group within 4 weeks, however, oral glucose tolerance in rats treated with RMD or RMD with pioglitazone improved after 4 weeks, 6 weeks, and 8 weeks. Findings from this study might lend support to the use of RMD as a novel functional food for the prevention of diabetes. © 2015, Food and Drug Administration, Taiwan. Published by Elsevier Taiwan LLC.

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