The Effects of Supplementary Mulberry Leaf (Morus alba) Extracts on the Trace Element Status (Fe, Zn and Cu) in Relation to Diabetes Management and Antioxidant Indices in Diabetic Rats

Biol Trace Elem Res. 2016 Nov;174(1):158-165. doi: 10.1007/s12011-016-0696-1. Epub 2016 Apr 13.


Mulberry leaves (Morus alba) have been used in folk medicine to mitigate symptoms of diabetes. The mulberry plant contains phenolic compounds that are able to decrease blood glucose concentration. Since various phenolics have antioxidant and metal binding properties, they can be used to alleviate oxidative stress and chelate trace elements involved in redox reactions. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of dietary supplementation with mulberry leaf extracts (acetone-water (AE) and ethanol-water (EE)) on the trace element status (Fe, Zn and Cu) in relation to diabetes management and antioxidant indices in high-fat diet-fed/STZ diabetic rats. The experiment was performed on 38 male Wistar rats with diabetes (induced by high-fat diet (HF) and streptozotocin injection) or the control fed with AIN-93M or high-fat diet. As a result, five experimental groups were used: (1) a healthy control group fed with AIN-93M; (2) an HF control group; (3) a diabetic HF group; (4) a diabetic HF + AE group (6 g/kg diet); (5) a diabetic HF + EE group (6 g/kg diet). The rats were fed with appropriate diets for 4 weeks. The content of trace elements (Fe, Zn and Cu) in the serum and tissues was measured by means of atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Biochemical analyses (glucose, TBARS, FRAP) were performed on the blood serum. It was shown that the AE decreased hepatic and renal Fe stores, while the EE increased hepatic Cu levels in diabetic rats and confirmed their ability to regulate the Fe and Cu status in diabetes. The results confirmed a significant hypoglycaemic and antioxidant potential of both mulberry leaf extracts in diabetic rats.

Keywords: Diabetes; Mulberry leaf extracts; Rats; Trace elements.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Metals / metabolism*
  • Morus / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trace Elements / metabolism*


  • Antioxidants
  • Metals
  • Plant Extracts
  • Trace Elements