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Steviol glycosides (SGs), such as stevioside and rebaudioside A, are natural, non-caloric sweet-tasting organic molecules, present in extracts of the scrub plant Stevia rebaudiana, which are widely used as sweeteners in consumer foods and beverages. TRPM5 is a Ca2+-activated cation channel expressed in type II taste receptor cells and pancreatic β-cells. Here we show that stevioside, rebaudioside A and their aglycon steviol potentiate the activity of TRPM5. We find that SGs potentiate perception of bitter, sweet and umami taste, and enhance glucose-induced insulin secretion in a Trpm5-dependent manner. Daily consumption of stevioside prevents development of high-fat-diet-induced diabetic hyperglycaemia in wild-type mice, but not in Trpm5-/- mice. These results elucidate a molecular mechanism of action of SGs and identify TRPM5 as a potential target to prevent and treat type 2 diabetes.

Original publication




Journal article


Nat Commun

Publication Date





Animals, Blood Glucose, Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2, Diet, High-Fat, Diterpenes, Kaurane, Female, Glucosides, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Insulin, Insulin Secretion, Insulin-Secreting Cells, Male, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Sweetening Agents, TRPM Cation Channels, Taste