EGCG and quercetin are flavonoids which usually co-exist in edible plants and they exhibit anti-diabetes effects. This study aimed to explore the mechanisms by which quercetin and EGCG synergistically protected pancreatic β-cells from streptozotocin-induced apoptosis. EGCG, quercetin, and their combinations (both 15 μM) all reversed STZ-induced cells damage and enhanced glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, with the combination being more effective than a single compound. At the molecular level, the EGCG-quercetin combination upregulated BCL-2 expression and caused a greater reduction in miR-16-5p level than EGCG alone or quercetin alone. Overexpression of miR-16-5p could offset the down-regulated apoptotic genes caused by the synergistic action of the combination. These findings suggest that EGCG and quercetin exert synergistic anti-diabetes effect, possibly via decreasing the expression of miR-16-5p that targets directly BCL-2. This is the first report on a miRNA-based mechanism underlying the synergistic protective effect of EGCG and quercetin against pancreatic cell damage. All rights...

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