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Keywords:

  • diabetes;
  • fasting plasma glucose;
  • lipid profile;
  • Parkia biglobosa

SUMMARY

  • 1
    The hypoglycaemic effect of fermented seeds of Parkia biglobosa (PB; African locust bean), a natural nutritional condiment that features frequently in some African diets as a spice, was investigated in the present study in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Its effect was compared with that of glibenclamide (Daonil; Sanofi-Aventis, Paris, France), a reference antidiabetic drug. The effects of PB on lipid profiles were also examined.
  • 2
    In order to assess the hypoglycaemic and hypolipidaemic effects of aqueous and methanolic extracts of PB on experimental animals, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), total cholesterol, triglyceride, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) were determined. In addition, the weight of each animal was determined to assess any possible weight gain or loss in the experimental animals (diabetic rats treated with Daonil (group C), the aqueous extract of PB (group D) or the methanolic extract of PB (group E)) compared with control groups (non-diabetic (group A) and non-treated diabetic (group B)).
  • 3
    A single dose of 120 mg/kg, i.v., alloxan administered to rats resulted in significant increases in the FPG (P < 0.001) of test animals compared with controls. However, dietary supplementation with PB (6 g/kg extract for 4 weeks administered orally using an intragastric tube) ameliorated the alloxan-induced diabetes in a manner comparable with that of the reference antidiabetic drug glibenclamide. Aqueous and methanolic extracts of PB (6% w/w) elicited 69.2% and 64.4% reductions, respectively, in FPG compared with 70.4% in 0.01 mg/150 g glibenclamide-treated rats.
  • 4
    Although animals treated with the aqueous extract of PB gained weight in manner similar to normal controls, animals given the methanolic extract and glibenclamide lost weight in manner similar to non-treated diabetic rats. In addition, high levels of HDL and low LDL were observed in animals treated with the aqueous extract of PB, a pattern similar to that seen in normal controls. Low levels of HDL and high levels of LDL were observed in animals treated with the methanolic extract of PB, a pattern similar to that seen in non-treated diabetic controls.
  • 5
    The results of the present study demonstrate that both aqueous and methanolic extracts of fermented seeds of PB exert a hypoglycaemic effect; hence, PB has an antidiabetic property. However, only the aqueous extract of PB ameliorated the loss of bodyweight usually associated with diabetes. Although the aqueous extract has a favourable lipid profile, which is probably an indication of its possible anti-arteriogenic property (hypertension and ischaemic heart diseases being common complications in diabetes mellitus), the methanolic extract shows possible contraindication to ischaemic heart diseases.