New insights on how ABA might improve diabetes bring it one step closer to clinical testing in pre-diabetic patients

Researchers at the NIMML Institute and Biotherapeutics have characterized how abscisic acid (ABA)-enriched fig extract promotes glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity while decreasing obese-related systemic inflammation in mice with obesity. The findings have been recently published in Scientific Reports.

ABA is found in fruits and vegetables and is endogenously produced in mammals. In humans and mice, lanthionine synthetase C-like 2 (LANCL2) has been characterized as the natural receptor for ABA. This new publication demonstrates that oral ABA administration improves both insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance in two different mouse models of T2D through modulation of metabolic activity in skeletal muscle. Additionally, this study demonstrates that ABA immunometabolic effects in murine models of type 2 diabetes are dependent of LANCL2 expression in skeletal muscle.

“This study is the culmination of many years of research studying how ABA exerts its anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties and identifying LANCL2 as the molecular target for ABA. LANCL2 is a novel pathway at the core of active drug development programs in inflammation & immunity,” said Dr. Josep Bassaganya-Riera, “We validated the safety and tolerability of fig extract-derived ABA in a Phase 1 clinical trial in healthy volunteers where demonstrated translation of glycemic improvements. The new mechanistic insights further support the clinical development of ABA and has taken us one step closer to clinical testing in prediabetic patients.”

About 84 million of Americans have prediabetes, a condition characterized by the presence of high blood glucose levels, with an associated high risk to evolve into type 2 diabetes (T2D), cardiovascular disease and stroke. Additionally, more than 28 million people is diagnosed with T2D. The healthcare costs associated with T2D are over $130 billion annually. Therefore, there is a need to develop safer and more effective interventions that can prevent prediabetes and intercept the progression from prediabetes to diabetes.

The results of the published study postulate ABA as a new therapeutic option to improve glycemic control and decrease obesity-related systemic inflammation in patients with chronic metabolic diseases. The NIMML Institute and BioTherapeutics, Inc. are planning to advance ABA to Phase 2 clinical trials in prediabetic and T2D patients in 2020.

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The NIMML Institute is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit public charity foundation focused on a transdisciplinary, team-science approach to precision medicine at the interface of immunology, inflammation, and metabolism. The NIMML Institute team has led numerous large-scale transdisciplinary projects and is dedicated to solving important societal problems by combining the expertise of immunologists, computational biologists, toxicologists, modelers, translational researchers, and molecular biologists. The Institute is headquartered in Blacksburg, VA. For more information, please visit or contact

About BioTherapeutics, Inc.

BioTherapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage biotech company that synergistically combines the power of advanced computational modeling with translational and clinical experimentation to accelerate the development of novel products for precision medicine and health. The company is headquartered in Blacksburg, VA. For more information, please visit or contact

About AdventHealth Research Institute

The AdventHealth Research Institute Orlando has more than 250 investigators and more than 500 clinical trials in progress at any given time and is home to over a dozen research areas and the Nicholson Center.