Moringa oleifera has been used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes. However, few studies have been conducted to relate its antidiabetic properties to proteins. In this study, a leaf protein isolate was obtained from M. oleifera leaves, named Mo-LPI, and the hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects on alloxan-induced diabetic mice were assessed. Mo-LPI was obtained by aqueous extraction, ammonium sulphate precipitation and dialysis. The electrophoresis profile and proteolytic hydrolysis confirmed its protein nature. Mo-LPI showed hemagglutinating activity, cross-reaction with anti-insulin antibodies and precipitation after zinc addition. Single-dose intraperitoneal (i.p.) administration of Mo-LPI (500 mg/kg·bw) reduced the blood glucose level (reductions of 34.3%, 60.9% and 66.4% after 1, 3 and 5 h, respectively). The effect of Mo-LPI was also evidenced in the repeated dose test with a 56.2% reduction in the blood glucose level on the 7th day after i.p. administration. Mo-LPI did not stimulate insulin secretion in diabetic mice. Mo-LPI was also effective in reducing the oxidative stress in diabetic mice by a decrease in malondialdehyde level and increase in catalase activity. Mo-LPI (2500 mg/kg·bw) did not cause acute toxicity to mice. Mo-LPI is a promising alternative or complementary agent to treat diabetes.
Keywords: Moringa; antioxidant activity; diabetes therapy; hypoglycemic activity; plant protein.