Background: Diabetes mellitus arises from a deficient production and action of insulin. Ziziphus vulgaris L. (jujube) is a medicinal plant that is known to have anti-diabetic actions. The aim of the present study was to investigate the protective effects of jujube fruit powder and extract against biochemical imbalances in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes.
Methods: Diabetes was induced in rats using intraperitoneal injection of STZ at a dose of 60 mg/kg body weight (bw). Jujube powder (1 g/kg bw) and extract (1 g/kg bw) were administered daily via gavage, from two weeks prior to three weeks after STZ injection. Serum concentrations of glucose, insulin, and lipids and histological changes of the pancreas tissue were assessed at the end of study.
Results: The kaempferol content of jujube extract was found to be 0.013 ± 0.0005% (w/w). Two weeks of supplementation with jujube powder resulted in a significant reduction of serum glucose levels compared with the non-diabetic control group prior to STZ treatment. Both jujube preparations prevented serum insulin decrease following STZ treatment, increased antioxidant capacity, and reduced total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, triglycerides, and malondialdehyde levels. Jujube powder reduced serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and C-reactive protein concentrations while jujube extract had no effect on these parameters. Histopathological examination revealed a significant attenuation of pancreatic inflammation in the jujube-treated animals.
Conclusions: The present findings suggest a protective role of jujube supplementation, in particular in the powdered form, against diabetes-induced biochemical and histopathological abnormalities.