Protective effect of Withania somnifera against oxidative stress and pancreatic beta-cell damage in type 2 diabetic rats

Acta Pol Pharm. 2012 Nov-Dec;69(6):1095-101.


The aim of the present study was to investigate the effects of Withania somnifera (WS) on lipid peroxidation (LPO), activities of both non-enzymatic and enzymatic antioxidants and histopathological examination of pancreas in type 2 diabetic rats. Type 2 diabetes was induced by single intraperitoneal injection of STZ (100 mg/kg) to 2 days old rat pups. Oxidative stress was measured by tissue LPO levels, reduced glutathione (GSH) contents and by enzymatic activities of glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT). Administration of WS to type 2 diabetic rats caused a significant decrease in blood glucose and tissue LPO levels with significant increase in GSH contents when compared with the type 2 diabetic control rats. In addition, WS treated rats also showed a significant increase in the activities of antioxidant enzymes namely GPx, GR, GST, SOD and CAT when compared with type 2 diabetic control rats. Significant reduction in the number and size of pancreatic beta-cells were preserved to near normal morphology by the administration of WS in type 2 diabetic rats as evident from histopathological examination. The results obtained clearly indicate that WS has shown strong free radical scavenging activity and helped in improving the non-enzymatic and enzymatic antioxidants in type 2 diabetic rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / pathology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Streptozocin
  • Withania*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Streptozocin
  • Glutathione