Background: Diabetes in humans induces chronic complications such as cardiovascular damage, cataracts and retinopathy, nephropathy and polyneuropathy. The most common animal model of human diabetes is streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes in the rat. The present study investigated the effects of Nigella sativa hydroalcholic extract on glucose concentrations in streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic rats.
Methods: In this study Twenty-five Wister-Albino rats (aged 8-9 weeks and weighing 200-250 g) were tested. Rats were divided into five experimental groups (control, untreated STZ-diabetic (60 mg/kg B.W., IP), treated STZ-diabetic with hydroalcholic extract of Nigella Sativa (NS) (5 mg/kg B.W, IP), treated STZ-diabetic with hydroalcholic extract of NS (10 mg/kg B.W., IP) and treated STZ-diabetic with hydroalcholic extract of NS (20 mg/kg B.W., IP and 32 days were evaluated to assess its effect on fasting blood glucose (FBG), and in different groups fasting blood glucose (FBG) and body weight (BW) were measured in the particular days (1, 16 and 32). At the end of the study, the animals were fasted overnight, anaesthetized with an intraperitoneal injection of sodium pentobarbital (60 mg/kg), and sacrificed for obtaining tissues samples (liver, pancreases). The number of islets and cells were counted and the islet diameters were determined by calibrated micrometer. The glycogen content in the liver was examined by Periodic Acid-Schiff (PAS) staining.
Results: Treatment with NS (5 mg/kg b.w.) markedly increased BW gain and the FBG level was significantly (p<0.001) reduced when compared to the control. Histopathological examination showed that the NS (5 mg/kg b.w.) partially recovered hepatic glycogen content and protected the great deal of the pancreatic islet cells. The number of islets, cells and islets diameter were found statistically significant when compared to the control (p<0.01, p<0.05).
Conclusions: Higher doses of NS did not exhibit any therapeutic effect. These results showed that hydroalcholic extract of NS at low doses has hypoglycemic effect and ameliorative effect on regeneration of pancreatic islets and may be used as a therapeutic agent in the management of diabetes mellitus. The hypoglycemic effect observed could be due to amelioration of β-cell, thus leading to increased insulin levels. Consequently, N. sativa may prove clinically useful in the treatment of diabetics and in the protection of β-cells against streptozotocin.
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