Effect of the desert plant Retama raetam on glycaemia in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
ABSTRACT The effect of the aqueous extract of Retama raetam (RR) on blood glucose levels was investigated in fasting normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats after single and repeated oral administration. The aqueous extract of RR at a dose of 20mg/kg significantly reduced the blood glucose in normal rats 6h after a single oral administration (P<0.005) and two weeks after repeated oral administration (P<0.05). This hypoglycaemic effect is more pronounced in streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic rats (P<0.001). The aqueous extract of RR had no effect on basal plasma insulin levels indicating that the underlying mechanism of RR activity is extra-pancreatic. These findings suggest that the aqueous extract of RR possess significant hypoglycaemic effect in both normal and STZ diabetic rats.
- SourceAvailable from: Shimon Rachmilevitch[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Desert plants are exposed to a combination of environmental stress conditions, including low water availability, extreme temperature fluctuations, high irradiance and nutrient deprivation. Studying desert plants within their natural habitat may therefore reveal novel mechanisms and strategies that enable plants to resist stressful conditions. We studied the acclimation of Retama raetam, an evergreen stem-assimilating desert plant, to growth within an arid dune ecosystem. Retama raetam contained two different populations of stems: those of the upper canopy, exposed to direct sunlight, and those of the lower canopy, protected from direct sunlight. During the dry season, stems of the upper canopy contained a very low level of a number of essential proteins, including the large and small subunits of rubisco, ascorbate peroxidase and the D1 subunit of the reaction centre of photosystem II. However, RNA encoding these proteins was present; cytosolic transcripts were associated with polysomes, while chloroplastic transcripts were not. Upon water application, as well as following the first rainfall of the season, these "photosynthetically suppressed" stems recovered and accumulated essential proteins within 6-24 h. In contrast, stems of the lower canopy contained the essential proteins throughout the dry season. We suggest that R. raetam uses an acclimation strategy of "partial plant dormancy" in order to survive the dry season. "Dormancy", as evident by the post-transcriptional suppression of gene expression, as well as the suppression of photosynthesis, was induced specifically in stems of the upper canopy which protect the lower canopy by shading.The Plant Journal 03/2001; 25(4):407-16. · 6.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Dormancy is an important developmental program allowing plants to withstand extended periods of extreme environmental conditions, such as low temperature or drought. Seed dormancy, bud dormancy and desiccation tolerance have been extensively studied, but little is known about the mechanisms involved in the dormancy of drought-tolerant plants, key to the survival of many plant species in arid and semi-arid environments. Subtractive PCR cloning of cDNAs from Retama raetam, a C3 drought-tolerant legume, revealed that dormancy in this plant is accompanied by the accumulation of transcripts encoding a pathogenesis-related, PR-10-like protein; a low temperature-inducible dehydrin; and a WRKY transcription factor. In contrast, non-dormant plants subjected to stress conditions contained transcripts encoding a cytosolic small heat-shock protein, HSP18; an ethylene-response transcriptional co-activator; and an early light-inducible protein. Physiological and biochemical analysis of Rubisco activity and protein in dormant and non-dormant tissues suggested a novel post-translational mechanism of regulation that may be controlled by the redox status of cells. Ultrastructural analysis of dormant plants revealed that air spaces of photosynthetic tissues contained an extracellular matrix that may function to prevent water loss. The cytosol of dormant cells appeared to be in a glassy state, limiting metabolic activity. A combination of biochemical, molecular and structural mechanisms, in association with metabolic suppression, may be key to the extreme drought tolerance of R. raetam and its acclimation to the desert ecosystem. These may enable plants to withstand long periods of drought, as well as rapidly to exit dormancy upon rainfall.The Plant Journal 09/2002; 31(3):319-30. · 6.58 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In order to make an inventory of herbal remedies commonly used in the treatment of diabetes, hypertension and renal diseases in the North centre region of Morocco, 1527 patients (1095 diabetic patients, 274 with renal disorders and 158 with cardiac disorders) and 25 traditional herbal healers were interviewed in four different areas of Fez-Boulemane region. More than 1153 of the total patients interviewed (76%) used regularly medicinal plants to treat diabetes, cardiac and renal diseases. These data showed that phytotherapy has always be practiced in this region. All the persons interviewed have indicated that the reasons of using phytotherapy is that the plant medicines are cheapest (54%) and more efficient (38%) than modern medicine. They also reported that the result of phytotherapy is better (72%). Our survey started at May 1997. About 90 plants were cited (54 plants for diabetes, 11 for cardiac diseases, 19 for hypertension and 33 for renal diseases). The plants reported have been identified and are presented in a table with the vernacular name, useful parts, ecological distribution and medicinal uses. Only 12% of the total patients have a relative knowledge of the toxic plants. The result indicated that nine plants are extremely toxic at high doses and chronic treatment. Fifty nine percent of the interviewers have indicated that they used medicinal plants from the experience of the other.Journal of Ethnopharmacology 11/2001; 77(2-3):175-82. · 2.76 Impact Factor