Aegle marmelos is a popular fruit plant in the Indian subcontinent, various parts of which are traditionally used against various illnesses including diabetes mellitus (DM). However, the underlying mechanisms of the antidiabetic effects of the plant are not clear, especially in type 2 DM. The present study was undertaken to investigate the effect of aqueous extracts of A. marmelos fruits (AMFE) and leaves (AMLE) on glycemic, lipidemic, insulinemic, insulin resistance and β-cell functional status of type 2 diabetic model rats.
An interventional study was designed using 20 type 2 diabetic rats. Type 2 DM was induced in Long Evans rats by a single intra-peritoneal injection of streptozotocin (90 mg/kg body weight) to 48 h old pups. Three months after induction of diabetes, the rats were divided into three independent groups: water-treated control group (n=6), AMLE-treated group (n=7) and AMFE-treated group (n=7). The rats were fed with extracts or water for 21 consecutive days and blood samples were collected at days 0 and 21 after an overnight fast. Data were expressed as mean±SD and analyzed by paired t-test or ANOVA as appropriate.
There were significantly lower blood glucose values in AMLE and AMFE groups at Endpoint compared to Baseline (mmol/l, mean±SD, Baseline vs. Endpoint, 7.04±1.0 vs. 6.06±0.92; p=0.032 and 7.04±0.97 vs. 5.87±0.93; p=0.047). There were also significantly lower serum insulin levels in AMLE and AMFE groups at Endpoint compared to Baseline (µIU/mL, mean±SD, Baseline vs. Endpoint, 14.02±5.48 vs. 7.57±2.90; p=0.026 and 11.54±4.83 vs. 6.58±4.36; p=0.008). Insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) was significantly improved both in AMLE and AMFE groups at Endpoint compared to Baseline (mean±SD, Baseline vs. Endpoint, 4.22±1.68 vs. 2.05±0.90; p=0.021 and 3.69±1.79 vs. 1.69±1.61; p=0.013). However, β-cell function or lipid profile did not show any significant alteration at Endpoint compared to Baseline in AMLE and AMFE groups.
Aqueous extracts of A. marmelos leaf and fruit have hypoglycemic property which seem to be mediated by lowering of insulin resistance. These findings highlight the therapeutic potential of the extracts of A. marmelos in human type 2 DM and provides strong impetus for further studies.
The authors wish to acknowledge the contribution of Dr. Shahinul Haque Khan, Associate Professor, Bangladesh University of Health Sciences, Dhaka, for his support in isolating aqueous extracts of Aegle marmelos fruits and leaves. The authors also acknowledge the contribution of Md. Billal Hossain and Md. Rafiqul Islam, Bangladesh Institute of Research and Rehabilitation in Diabetes, Endocrine and Metabolic Disorders, Dhaka, for their help in animal experimentation.
Author contributions: All the authors have accepted responsibility for the entire content of this submitted manuscript and approved submission. SRM isolated extracts performed biochemical and animal experiments. MA and BR supervised the study and helped conduct the experiments. SKB and SRM analyzed and interpreted data and wrote the manuscript. MAM and SC supervised the study and critically reviewed the manuscript. LA conceived, designed, supervised the study and critically reviewed the manuscript.
Research funding: This work was partly supported by a grant from the Bangladesh Medical Research Council.
Employment or leadership: None declared.
Honorarium: None declared.
Competing interests: The funding organization(s) played no role in the study design; in the collection, analysis, and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; or in the decision to submit the report for publication.
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