Extracts of Persea americana Mill (Lauraceae) ("Avocado") have been traditionally used to treat hypertension and diabetes mellitus. Accordingly, we studied the hypoglycaemic and renal function effects of P. americana leaf ethanolic extracts (PAE) in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Oral glucose tolerance responses to various doses of PAE were monitored in fasted rats following a glucose load. Rats treated with deionized water or standard hypoglycaemic drugs acted as untreated and treated positive controls, respectively. Acute renal effects of PAE were investigated in anesthetized rats challenged with 0.077 M NaCl after a 3.5-h equilibration for 4 h comprising 1 h control, 1.5 h treatment and 1.5 h recovery periods. PAE was added to the infusate during the treatment period. Hepatic glycogen concentration was measured after 6 weeks of daily treatment with PAE. PAE induced dose-dependent hypoglycaemic responses in STZ-induced diabetic rats while subchronic PAE treatment additionally increased hepatic glycogen concentrations. Acute PAE infusion decreased urine flow and electrolyte excretion rates, whilst subchronic treatment reduced plasma creatinine and urea concentrations. These results indicate not only the basis of the ethnomedicinal use of P. americana leaf extract in diabetes management, but also of need for further studies to identify and evaluate the safety of PAE's bioactive compounds.
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