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 Table of Contents  
EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 9-15  

Metabolic efficacy of PHS-E 2 (Glucoherb), a chinese antidiabetic herbal health product, in Streptozotocin-induced diabetic wistar rats


1 Department of Clinical Pharmacology, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia
2 The Research Centre, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
3 Department of Medicine, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
4 Department of Surgery, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Taif University, Taif, Saudi Arabia

Date of Web Publication13-Apr-2012

Correspondence Address:
Hatim Elsheikh
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences, Taif University, P.O. Box 6113, Taif
Saudi Arabia
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Source of Support: Research Center, KFSHRC.Jeddah., Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2278-0521.94978

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  Abstract 

Heshouwu (Polygonum multiflorum) and Dahuang (Rheum hotaoense) are Chinese vegetables. Preliminary studies in China showed hypoglycemic effect of the two plants extract mixture, PHS-E 2 (glucoherb). This study investigated the hypoglycemic efficacy of PHS-E 2 in comparison to that of glibenclamide in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Glucoherb and glibenclamide were administered in rats orally, daily for a period of five weeks. Glucoherb was given at doses of 7 mg/kg, 15 mg/kg and 25 mg/kg. The comparable values of the three indices of cellular toxicity aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and bilirubin between glucoherb or glibenclamide treated rats and untreated normal control rats, suggest that glucoherb may not be toxic, at least to the liver, at the doses employed. The herbal preparation decreased the levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, in contrast to glibenclamide, which showed a tendency of total cholesterol increase at weeks 4 and 5 of the treatment. The daily oral administration of glucoherb, for five weeks at the three above doses was able to produce hypoglycemic effects between the second and the fourth weeks of treatment till the end of the experiment. The observed hypoglycemic effect was not dose dependant and was not different from that of glibenclamide in STZ-diabetic rats.

Keywords: Antidiabetic, chinese herbal medicine, dahuang, glucoherb, heshouwa, rats


How to cite this article:
Elsheikh H, Ibrahim E, Al-Ghamdi S, Elhadd T, Al-Malki T. Metabolic efficacy of PHS-E 2 (Glucoherb), a chinese antidiabetic herbal health product, in Streptozotocin-induced diabetic wistar rats. Saudi J Health Sci 2012;1:9-15

How to cite this URL:
Elsheikh H, Ibrahim E, Al-Ghamdi S, Elhadd T, Al-Malki T. Metabolic efficacy of PHS-E 2 (Glucoherb), a chinese antidiabetic herbal health product, in Streptozotocin-induced diabetic wistar rats. Saudi J Health Sci [serial online] 2012 [cited 2022 Jan 24];1:9-15. Available from: https://www.saudijhealthsci.org/text.asp?2012/1/1/9/94978


  Introduction Top


Traditional herbal medicine has been used for centuries to treat various chronic diseases. There has been some anecdotal evidence to suggest that some of these medicines could be used in treating patients with diabetes and that they may be quite effective in improving the glycemic control in these patients. [1]

Recently, there is a growing body of evidence from several studies conducted in human subjects and in animal models with diabetes, that herbal medication is both safe and effective. [2],[3] Such therapy could be quite popular and appealing to many diabetic people of various cultural backgrounds. For instance, there is substantive evidence to suggest that many patients with diabetes in Saudi Arabia (and elsewhere) have been using traditional medicines without informing their treating physicians. [3] In one community program, to tackle the diabetes epidemic in Canada, the best-attended modality of management was the use of traditional herbal medicine.

Data from animal studies have added much insight into our understanding of the various mechanisms by which these agents improve the metabolic parameters in diabetes. The use of the traditional Chinese herbal agent CordyMax Cs-4 in adult Wistar rats have been shown to improve level of glycemia and to increase insulin sensitivity. [4] Other agents like Keishi-ka-gutsubu-to were shown, to enhance in vivo insulin action via improvement in expression of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) in streptozocin-induced diabetic rats. [5] Improvement in glucose utilization and insulin sensitivity may be accomplished via a nitric oxide (NO) pathway mediated mechanism. [6] Some specific agents, unique to these herbal medicines have been reported to improve utilization of glucose by the rat adipocyte cells. [7] Furthermore, glucokinase activity in the pancreatic islets can be protected by these agents, and thus improving the insulin secretion capacity of the patients. [8]

PHS-E 2 (Glucoherb; a name given and used by the investigators of this study) is a Chinese antidiabetic herbal medication. It has been extracted and processed from two medicinal plants named Dahuang and Heshouwa, which are originally used by Chinese as vegetables. Researchers at Feugyuan-Union Institute of MedPharma Industrialization, Beijing, China, observed hypoglycemic effects of the plant extract mixture (Personal communication, Professor Wu, Feugyuan-Union Institute of MedPharma Industrialization, Beijing, China). Animal studies reported that the medicinal plant extract was safe and that no side effects were observed in rats and in mice been given the extract about 3,000 times the suggested human clinical dose (Personal communication, Professor Wu, Feugyuan-Union Institute of MedPharma Industrialization, Beijing, China, unpublished data). Furthermore, the plant preparation showed remarkable hypoglycemic effects and improved blood lipid levels in alloxan induced diabetic mice or congenital type 2 diabetic mice. An extract of Heshouwu when used in combination with cinnamon and mushroom extract was found to have hypoglycemic effects in patients with Type 2 Diabetes mellitus. [9] Preliminary clinical investigations reported hypoglycemic effects following oral administration of the drug preparation at an average daily oral dose of 480 mg in a limited number of type 2 diabetic patients (Personal communication, Professor Wu, Feugyuan-Union Institute of MedPharma Industrialization, Beijing, China).

The aim of the present study was to further investigate the hypoglycemic potential of Glucoherb in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.


  Materials and Methods Top


Animals

Healthy Wistar breed rats, 10-12 weeks of age and weighing 180-200 g were used. They were obtained from the Laboratory Animal Unit, King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Animals were housed in clean rodent cages, in a room at relative humidity not less than 30% and not exceeding 70%, at room temperature 22°C+3°C, with artificial lighting with a sequence being 12 h light and 12 h dark. Animals were fed on conventional laboratory animal diet for rats (Manufactured by Grain Silos and Flour Mills Company, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It contained crude protein 20%, crude fat 4% and crude fiber 3.5% and added trace minerals) with unrestricted supply of feed and drinking water. Animals were randomly selected, and marked to permit individual identification, and kept in their cages for one week prior to dosing to allow for acclimatization to the laboratory conditions.

Drug administration

PHS-E2 (Glucoherb) is the extract prepared from the two medicinal plants Heshouwa and Dahuang. It is provided by Professor Wu, Feugyuan-Union Institute of MedPharma Industrialization, Beijing, China. The preparation is a light brownish powder, insoluble in water. It was given orally to rats as a mixture in 0.05% carboxymethylcellulose sodium (CMC) through gastric tubes in a dose volume not exceeding 3.0 mL. All the glucoherb doses used in this study were decided based up on the observations of our Chinese collaborative group.

Induction of diabetes in rats

Streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (STZ-diabetic rats) were prepared by intraperitoneal (IP) injection of STZ (60 mg/kg). STZ was obtained from Sigma (St. Louis, MO). Animals were considered as diabetic when plasma glucose concentration reached 15 mmol/L or higher. The experiment was started immediately after the onset of Diabetes in STZ treated rats (Two days after the injection of STZ).

Experimental design

A total of 36 male rats were used in this experiment. They were divided into 6 groups, each of 6 animals. Rats representing groups 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 were STZ-induced diabetic rats. Animals of group 6 served as untreated normal controls. Rats representing groups 1, 2 and 3 were given glucoherb orally, daily at the dose rates of 7 mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25 mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 received glibenclamide (Daonil, Hoechst, Germany) orally (600 ug/kg body weight). Animals representing group 5 were employed as untreated diabetic controls. Animals of the diabetic (group 5) and normal (group 6) untreated controls were dosed with 0.05% CMC orally, daily till the end of the experiment.

Blood samples (1.5 ml) and animal weights were obtained from all animals at 0, 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35 days after the confirmation of diabetes induction in the STZ treated animals. The blood was collected from all animals, under light ethyl ether anesthesia, from the eyes (venous pool) by sino-ocular puncture [10] into plain tubes. Serum was separated and stored at −20°C pending analysis for the determination of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), bilirubin, cholesterol, HDL- and LDL-Cholesterol and triglycerides. Glucose concentration determination was done on fresh blood samples obtained from the tail vein, before and 2 days after STZ injection for the confirmation of diabetes induction and then weekly till the end of the experiment.

Clinical chemistry analysis

All biochemical tests, except for glucose estimation, were analyzed in serum samples using Dade Behring Dimension RXL clinical chemistry analyzer, Diamond diagnostics Inc. USA. Accu-Check compact (Roche Diagnostics GmbH, Mannheim, Germany) glucometer device was used for the analysis of glucose concentration.

Statistical analysis

The data is presented as arithmetic means±s.e.m. Data was analyzed using paired-sample t-test to compare two dependent sample means, one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) to compare more than two independent means or repeated measures ANOVA to compare dependent means of repeated measures, when appropriate. Bonferroni test was used to find significant differences among means and to adjust for multiple comparisons. P values of less than 0.05 were considered significant. In addition, the dependent and confounding variables glucose concentration, change in body weight, ALT and LDL cholesterol were categorized and the results were described accordingly.


  Results Top


Two days after the injection of STZ, rats representing groups 1 (glucoherb-7 mg/kg), 2 (glucoherb-15 mg/kg), 3 (glucoherb-25 mg/kg), 4 (glibenclamide-600 ug/kg) and 5 (untreated diabetic controls) were considered diabetic based on the physiological changes observed, mainly ployuria and the development of high blood glucose level that reached 15 mmol/L or higher. Four animals (one from groups 1 and 5 each and two from group 2) were excluded form the study because their blood level did not reach 15 mmol/L. Three animals died during the study period. They was one from group 1, which died on day 23 and one from group 2, died on day 17 and one from group 5, which died on day 31. When died, all rats had blood glucose levels higher than 29 mmol/L. Postmortem examinations of the dead rats did not show evidence of abnormality. Histopathological examination revealed fewer numbers of the pancreatic Islets of these dead diabetic rats as the only reportable change.

The weights of all animals in all groups (1-6) increased significantly (P<0.05) throughout the study period, with no inter-group variation in the mean body weights [Figure 1]. However, animals showed individual difference in the rate of weight change, which were found to be associated with response to the antidiabetic effect of glucoherb or of glibenclamide. Excluding the nondiabetic control, rats weight increased in 11 animals in which glucose level was controlled to concentrations below 15 mmol/L. Ten of these rats represented two animals from group 1, 3 animals from group 2 and group 3 each, and 2 rats from group 4. Whereas, decreased body weight was associated with blood glucose levels that were higher than 15 mmol/L, which were represented by 2 animals from group 1, one rat from groups 3 and 5 each and 2 from the diabetic control rats (Group 5).
Figure 1: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean body weight (grams). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/ kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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No changes were observed in the serum levels of ALT, total bilirubin and HDL cholesterol in diabetic rats treated with the various doses of glucoherb compared with those treated with glibenclamide or with the diabetic untreated controls or the untreated nondiabetic controls [Figure 3], [Figure 4] and [Figure 5]. However, mean AST concentrations showed significant increase (P<0.05) at weeks 3, 4 and 5, in groups 3 and 5 compared with other groups [Figure 2]. Total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol concentrations illustrated significant increases (P<0.05) in diabetic control group (Group 5) from week 3, till the end of the experiment. Whereas, animals treated with glibenclamide showed a tendency of increase in the total cholesterol levels at weeks 4 and 5 [Figure 6] and [Figure 7]. All groups except the untreated controls (Group 6) exhibited significant increase (P<0.05) in the triglyceride concentration at weeks 2, 3, 4, and 5 compared with the initial levels [Figure 8].
Figure 2: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean aspartate aminotransferase (AST) serum concentration (IU/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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Figure 3: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean alanine aminotransferase (ALT) serum concentration (IU/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5),
2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.


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Figure 4: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean bilirubin serum concentration (umol/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (#9650;; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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Figure 5: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean HDL cholesterol serum concentration (mmol/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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Figure 6: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean total cholesterol serum concentration (mmol/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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Figure 7: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean LDL cholesterol serum concentration (mmol/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (● n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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Figure 8: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean triglyceride serum concentration (mmol/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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Diabetes was induced in 26 out of 30 rats 48 h following the IP injection of streptozotocin at the dose rate of 60 mg/kg. The mean glucose blood level was 27.2 ± 4.6 mmol/L compared with the mean control value of 7.3 ± 0.5 mmol/L for Group 6 [Figure 9]. In Group 1, animals which were treated with glucoherb at the dose rate of 7 mg/kg, in one rat blood glucose concentration decreased to 9.2 mmol/L two weeks from the start of the dosing with the herbal medication. In another animal, the blood glucose concentration was reduced to 12.3 mmol/L 3 weeks from the start of the experiment. Both animals continued to have glucose levels below 12.3 mmol/L till the end of the 5 weeks duration of the experiment. Two animals from this group showed no improvement in glucose level and one animal died during the fourth week of the experiment. In this rat, blood glucose concentration was found to be 30.0 mmol/L, before its death. Hence, in this group, 2 out of 5 animals showed decrease in blood glucose to normal levels. Group 2 was represented by four animals only, because two rats were excluded owing to the failure of experimental diabetes induction. One animal from this group died during the third week of the experiment. The blood glucose level before the animal death was 29.3 mmol/L. Two out of the three remained animals showed improvement in glucose concentration to the levels of 8.9 and 12.2 mmol/L, in the second week. The third rat's blood glucose level reached 10.7 mmol/L during the fourth week. In these three rats, blood glucose levels remained normal till the end of the experiment. In Group 3 rats, which were treated with glucoherb at the dose rate of 25 mg/kg, glucose blood levels reached 9.4, 11.7 and 12.9 mmol/L during the second week in one rat and during the third week in another two animals, respectively. In all the three animals glucose levels remained below 11.0 mmol/L till the end of the experiment.
Figure 9: Effect of daily oral administration of glucoherb or glibenclamide in rats for five weeks on mean blood glucose concentration (mmol/L). Rats representing groups 1 (♦; n = 5), 2 (■; n = 4) and 3 (●; n = 6) were given glucoherb at the dose rate of 7mg/kg, 15 mg/kg or 25mg/kg body weight, respectively. Animals of group 4 were treated with glibenclamide (▲; n = 6) at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg body weight. Rats of groups 5 and 6 served as diabetic (◊; n = 5) and normal untreated (○; n = 6) controls, respectively. The standard error of the mean (SEM), not drawn, represented 5% or less of the mean values.

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The other three rats of this group continued to have high blood glucose levels till the end of the experiment. In animals of Group 4, which were treated with glibenclamide at the dose rate of 0.6 mg/kg, three rats showed improvement in the level of blood glucose to 8.9, 9.1 and 4.1 mmol/L at week two for the first animal and at week four for the other two animals. For these rats, the blood glucose continued at normal levels below 15.3 mmol/L, till the end of the experiment. In the five diabetic control rats (group 5), glucose blood levels spontaneously decreased in one animal to 8.6 mmol/L during the second week of the experiment. Three animals showed high glucose levels (>22 mmol/L) till the end of the experiment, while the fourth rat died during the fifth week. The last reading of glucose concentration before death of the rats was 33.3 mmol/L. The untreated control rats (group 6) remained healthy throughout the experiment period with blood glucose levels not exceeding the 8.0 mmol/L level.

Collectively, blood glucose levels reached normal values (<15.0 mmol/L) in eight out of fifteen rats representing Groups 1, 2 and 3 that were treated with the various doses of glucoherb (53.3%). This observation is comparable to treatment with glibenclamide, which was able to control blood glucose levels in three out of six rats (50%). While only one out of five diabetic control rats had a spontaneous recovery (20%).


  Discussion Top


The present study demonstrated that the Chinese herbal health product glucoherb (PHS-E 2 ) is safe at dose level up to 25 mg/kg body weights for five weeks in diabetic rats. Changes observed in AST concentration in diabetic rats treated with glucoherb (group 3) or those treated with glibenclamide (group 5) were not clinically important because the reported values were within reference normal range of this enzyme for Wistar breed rats. Furthermore, the comparable values of the other two indices of cellular toxicity, ALT and bilirubin, between glucoherb and glibenclamide treated diabetic rats and untreated normal control rats; further suggest that glucoherb may not be toxic, at least to the liver, at the doses employed. However, the death of the three diabetic rats (One from groups 1 and 2 each, which were treated with glucoherb at the dose rates of 7 or 15 mg/kg, respectively, and one from the diabetic untreated control group) could be related to the severity of induced diabetes in these animals, as all the three animals had blood glucose levels higher that 29 mmol/L. In addition, the only significant histopathological change observed in the dead rats was the decrease in the number of pancreatic β-cells and death of the cells. Similar histopathological findings were also observed in animals that did not respond to the antidiabetic treatment or in the diabetic untreated control group. These observations are in agreement with that of Elsner et al.[11] and Thulesen et al.[12]

STZ-induced diabetic rats have been previously described as the recommended experimental animal model to investigate efficacy of hypoglycemic agents. [13] STZ is selectively toxic to insulin-secreting β-cells of pancreatic islets. It results in destruction and reduction in the number of β-cells. [14],[15] It is well documented that diabetes mellitus is characterized by disturbed metabolism of glucose, fat and protein. [16] The most common lipid abnormalities in diabetes are hypertriglyceridemia and hypercholesterolemia. [17],[18] The present results demonstrate that the intraperitoneal injection of STZ in rats at the dose rate of 60 mg/kg was able to induce signs of diabetes that included loss of body weight and polyuria, in addition to other metabolic features of diabetes. It was confirmed that, the STZ-induced diabetic alterations in all treated animals were almost similar. Accordingly four rats (one from groups 1 and 5, each and two from group 2) were excluded from the study because their blood glucose levels did not reach 15 mmol/L. Hyperglycemia was indicated by fasting blood glucose levels of two to four folds elevation and above 15 mmol/L. Furthermore, rats that developed diabetes also showed significant increase in triglyceride, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels.

In the current study, the observed failure of the various dose levels of glucoherb and of glibenclamide in ameliorating the increased triglyceride levels of treated diabetic rats, might suggest the need for longer periods of treatment to bring down the triglyceride concentration to normal levels. On the other hand, glucoherb was successful to demonstrate antihyperlipidemic effect. The herbal preparation decreased the levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol, in contrast to glibenclamide, which showed a tendency of total cholesterol increase at weeks 4 and 5 of the treatment. This observation might add another clinical potential to glucoherb, because the lowering effect of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol is a good indication for prevention of vascular disease. [19],[20]

The daily oral administration of glucoherb, for five weeks at the three dose levels been used, was able to produce hypoglycemic effects between the second and the fourth weeks of treatment till the end of the experiment. Our results compliment that of Cheng et al.[9] who studied the hypoglycemic effect of the extract mixture of cinnamon, Heshouwa (a component of our study plant extract mixture) and mushroom extracts. The Chinese herbal medicine Gosha-jinki-gan was shown to improve the glucose utilization and insulin resistance in STZ-induced diabetic rats, probably via the nitric oxide pathway. [6] The observed effect was not dose dependant and was not different from that of glibenclamide. This effect produced in animals treated with the herbal preparation could be related to potentiation of the insulin effect of plasma by increasing the pancreatic secretion of insulin from existing β-cells or its release from bound insulin. Similar effects were reported for other medicinal plants. [21] For instance, Azardirachta indica [22] and Syzigium cumini [23] were reported to exhibit stimulatory effects on insulin release. Furthermore, the antidiabetic effect of glucoherb could involve enhanced glucose utilization by peripheral tissues in diabetic rats. Nonetheless, further experiments might be warranted to elucidate the exact antihyperglycemic and antihyperlipidemic mechanisms of action of glucoherb.

The limitation of this study is the fact that the Wistar rat model has been used by utilizing STZ to induce diabetes. Streptozotocin may induce a diabetes state akin to Type-1 diabetes, with total or near total insulin deficiency. The action of glucoherb may have an insulin-like effect or IGF-1 like effect, so been able to control the hyperglycemia induced by STZ. As insulin or C-peptide level has not been estimated in the model of diabetes used in the present study before and after treatment, it will be difficult to ascertain the exact mode of action of glucoherb, and the proposed mechanisms are only speculative.

It can be concluded that glucoherb, been orally administered daily for a period of five weeks, at the various dose levels used, is both safe and has evident antidiabetic efficacy that is comparable with that of glibenclamide in diabetic Wistar breed rats. The present study supports the clinical usefulness of the herbal preparation and its use in addition to the prescribed conventional antidiabetic drugs to improve clinical outcome in this subset of patients. The low cost of the product makes more appealing for its utilization in developing countries.


  Acknowledgments Top


This project is part of the collaboration program between the Research Center, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center-Jeddah and Feugyuan-Union Institute of MedPharma Industrialization, Beijing, China. The study was sponsored by the Research Center, KFSHRC-Jeddah. The investigators would like to thank the Director of King Fahd Medical Research Center, King Abdulaziz University for availing the Laboratory Animal Unit facilities to undertake the animal experiments, and for Dr. Huda Abu-Araki for supervision of animal care. They are thankful to Dr. Bakr Bin Sadeq, Scientist at the Research Center for the help with statistical analysis and to Dr. Hassan Kanaan, the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine for reading the histopathology slides.

 
  References Top

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    Figures

  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3], [Figure 4], [Figure 5], [Figure 6], [Figure 7], [Figure 8], [Figure 9]



 

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