Methanolic extract of Moringa oleifera leaves improves glucose tolerance, glycogen synthesis and lipid metabolism in alloxan-induced diabetic rats

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2015 Nov;26(6):585-93. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2014-0129.


Background: Glucose-lowering effects of Moringa oleifera extracts have been reported. However, the mechanism for its hypoglycemic effects is not yet understood. This study investigated the effect of oral administration of methanolic extracts of M. oleifera (MOLE) on glucose tolerance, glycogen synthesis, and lipid metabolism in rats with alloxan-induced diabetes.

Methods: MOLE was screened for key phytochemicals and its total flavonoids and phenolic contents were quantified. Diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal injection of 120 mg/kg BW alloxan. Normal and diabetic control rats received saline, while rats in other groups received 300 or 600 mg/kg body weight of MOLE or metformin (100 mg/kg body weight of metformin) for 6 weeks. Food intake and body weight were monitored throughout the experiment. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance was assessed and serum glucose, insulin, and lipids were measured at the end of the experiment. Liver and muscle glycogen synthase activities, glycogen content, and glucose uptake were determined.

Results: Administration of MOLE did not affect food intake but inhibited weight loss, significantly (p<0.01) improved glucose tolerance, and increased serum insulin levels by 1.3-1.7-fold (p<0.01). MOLE treatment significantly (p<0.001) reduced serum concentrations of triglyceride, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein (LDL)-cholesterol and enhanced serum level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) by 2.4- to 3.2-fold (p<0.001). Glycogen synthase activities and glycogen contents were higher in MOLE-treated rats compared with rats receiving metformin or saline and the extract improved glucose uptake by 49%-59% (p<0.01).

Conclusions: These results showed that hypoglycemic effects of MOLE might be mediated through the stimulation of insulin release leading to enhanced glucose uptake and glycogen synthesis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alloxan
  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Glycogen / biosynthesis
  • Glycogen Synthase / metabolism
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Male
  • Metformin / pharmacology
  • Methanol / chemistry
  • Moringa oleifera / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin
  • Plant Extracts
  • Alloxan
  • Glycogen
  • Metformin
  • Glycogen Synthase
  • Methanol