Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effect of oleuropein in alloxan-diabetic rabbits

Life Sci. 2006 Feb 16;78(12):1371-7. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2005.07.029. Epub 2005 Oct 19.


Patients with diabetes mellitus are likely to develop certain complication such as retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy as a result of oxidative stress and overwhelming free radicals. Treatment of diabetic patients with antioxidant may be of advantage in attenuating these complications. Oleuropein, the active constituent of olive leaf (Olea europaea), has been endowed with many beneficial and health promoting properties mostly linked to its antioxidant activity. This study aimed to evaluate the significance of supplementation of oleuropein in reducing oxidative stress and hyperglycemia in alloxan-induced diabetic rabbits. After induction of diabetes, a significant rise in plasma and erythrocyte malondialdehyde (MDA) and blood glucose as well as alteration in enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants was observed in all diabetic animals. During 16 weeks of treatment of diabetic rabbits with 20 mg/kg body weight of oleuropein the levels of MDA along with blood glucose and most of the enzymatic and non-enzymatic antioxidants were significantly restored to establish values that were not different from normal control rabbits. Untreated diabetic rabbits on the other hand demonstrated persistent alterations in the oxidative stress marker MDA, blood glucose and the antioxidant parameters. These results demonstrate that oleuropein may be of advantage in inhibiting hyperglycemia and oxidative stress induced by diabetes and suggest that administration of oleuropein may be helpful in the prevention of diabetic complications associated with oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / blood*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Oleaceae
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Leaves
  • Pyrans / therapeutic use*
  • Rabbits


  • Antioxidants
  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Iridoid Glucosides
  • Iridoids
  • Pyrans
  • oleuropein