Background: Argan or Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels, of the family sapotaceae which is an endemic species of the western south Morocco is used for its antidiabetic activity in local traditional medicine. All the parts of the plants are used to prepare remedies against various diseases. Recently, some studies suggest that Argan oil could play a beneficial role in cardiovascular diseases prevention.Aim: The goal of the present work is to show more evidences of the antidiabetic activity of Argan oil extracted from the almonds of Argan tree.Methods: In a first experiment, we tested the antihyperglycemiant effect on oral glucose tolerance test in healthy rats and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (60 mg/kg). In the second subchronic study, we tested the effect of the repeated oral administration of Argan oil (2 ml/kg during 15 days) on streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Moreover, the effect of Argan oil on the intestinal glucose absorption was tested in a jejunum segment by the technique of the in situ perfusion.Results: In the OGTT experiment of healthy rats and diabetic rats, the intraperitoneal administration of Argan oil (2.5 ml/kg) 30 minutes before the oral glucose loading (1g/kg) induced a significant reduction of glycemia, at 60 minutes and the decrease was persistent until the end of experiments (180 min) when compared to controls. In the subchronic treatment, the results showed a significant improvement of body mass and a significant reduction of the glycemia (55 %, p<0.001) at the end of experiment, when compared with untreated diabetic rats. Moreover, Argan oil reduced significantly (19.3 %, p<0.05) the amount of absorbed glucose in perfused jejunum segment versus controls. This effect was less than that of acarbose (alpha-glucosidase inhibitor).Conclusion: The consumption of Argan oil as a traditional food has the potential to reduce hyperglycemia-induced pathogenesis. It also explains the basis for its traditional use by rural community of western south Morocco.
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