Background: Diabetes mellitus is a metabolic disorder characterized by chronic hyperglycemia. Plant extracts and their products are being used as an alternative system of medicine for the treatment of diabetes. Aloe vera has been traditionally used to treat several diseases and it exhibits antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and wound-healing effects. Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced Wistar diabetic rats were used in this study to understand the potential protective effect of A. vera extract on the pancreatic islets.
Objective: The aim of the present study was to evaluate the A. vera extract on improvement of insulin secretion and pancreatic β-cell function by morphometric analysis of pancreatic islets in STZ-induced diabetic Wistar rats.
Materials and methods: After acclimatization, male Wistar rats, maintained as per the Committee for the Purpose of Control and Supervision of Experiments on Animals guidelines, were randomly divided into four groups of six rats each. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin levels were assessed. The effect of A. vera extract in STZ-induced diabetic rats on the pancreatic islets by morphometric analysis was evaluated.
Results: Oral administration of A. vera extract (300 mg/kg) daily to diabetic rats for 3 weeks showed restoration of blood glucose levels to normal levels with a concomitant increase in insulin levels upon feeding with A. vera extract in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Morphometric analysis of pancreatic sections revealed quantitative and qualitative gain in terms of number, diameter, volume, and area of the pancreatic islets of diabetic rats treated with A. vera extract when compared to the untreated diabetic rats.
Conclusion: A. vera extract exerts antidiabetic effects by improving insulin secretion and pancreatic β-cell function by restoring pancreatic islet mass in STZ-induced diabetic Wistar rats.
Summary: Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and insulin levels were restored to normal levels in diabetic rats treated with Aloe vera extractIslets of pancreas were qualitatively and quantitatively restored to normalcy leading to restoration of FPG and insulin levels of diabetic rats treated with Aloe vera extractMorphometric analysis of pancreatic sections revealed quantitative and qualitative gain in terms of number, diameter, volume, and area of the pancreatic islets of diabetic rats treated with Aloe vera extract when compared to the untreated diabetic rats. Abbreviations Used:A. vera, FPG: Fasting plasma glucose, STZ: Streptozotocin, BW: Body weight.
Keywords: Aloe vera; diabetes; insulin; morphometric analysis; pancreas; streptozotocin.