Oxidative stress has a major role in progression of diabetes-related behavioral deficits. It has been suggested that Aloe vera has anti-diabetic, antioxidative, and neuroprotective effects. The present study was designed to determine the effects of Aloe vera gel on behavioral functions, oxidative status, and neuronal viability in the hippocampus of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats. Fifty five adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into five groups, including: control (normal saline 8ml/kg/day; P.O.), diabetic (normal saline 8ml/kg/day; P.O.), Aloe vera gel (100mg/kg/day; P.O.), diabetic+Aloe vera gel (100mg/kg/day; P.O.) and diabetic+NPH insulin (10 IU/kg/day; S.C.). All treatments were started immediately following confirmation of diabetes in diabetic groups and were continued for eight weeks. Behavioral functions were evaluated by employing standard behavioral paradigms. Additionally, oxidative status and neuronal viability were assessed in the hippocampus. The results of behavioral tests showed that diabetes enhanced anxiety/depression-like behaviors, reduced exploratory and locomotor activities, decreased memory performance, and increased stress related behaviors. These changes in diabetic rats were accompanied by increasing oxidative stress and neuronal loss in the hippocampus. Interestingly, eight weeks of treatment with Aloe vera gel not only alleviated all the mentioned deficits related to diabetes, but in some aspects, it was even more effective than insulin. In conclusion, the results suggest that both interrelated hypoglycemic and antioxidative properties of Aloe vera gel are possible mechanisms that improve behavioral deficits and protect hippocampal neurons in diabetic animals.
Keywords: Aloe vera; Behavioral deficits; Diabetes; Hippocampus; Neuronal survival; Oxidative stress.
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