[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Fenugreek and Balanites are two plants commonly used in Egyptian folk medicine as hypoglycemic agents. In the present study, the effects of 21 days oral administration of Fenugreek seed and Balanites fruit extracts (1.5 g/kg bw) on the liver and kidney glycogen content and on some key liver enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism in STZ-diabetic rats were studied. In addition, the effects of these two plant extracts on the intestinal alpha-amylase activity in vitro and starch digestion and absorption in vivo were also examined. Results indicated that single injection of STZ (50 mg/kg bw) caused 5-folds increase in the blood glucose level, 80% reduction in serum insulin level, 58% decrease in liver glycogen and 7-folds increase in kidney glycogen content as compared to the normal levels. The activity of glucose-6-phosphatase was markedly increased, whereas, the activities of both glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and phospho-fructokinase were significantly decreased in the diabetic rat liver. Administration of Fenugreek extract to STZ-diabetic rats reduced blood glucose level by 58%, restored liver glycogen content and significantly decreased kidney glycogen as well as liver glucose-6-phosphatase activity. Meanwhile, Balanites extract reduced blood glucose level by 24% and significantly decreased liver glucose-6-phosphatase activity in diabetic rats. On the other hand, our results demonstrated that both the Fenugreek and Balanites extracts were able to in vitro inhibit alpha-amylase activity in dose-dependent manner. Fenugreek was more potent inhibitor than Balanites. This inhibition was reversed by increasing substrate concentration in a pattern which complies well with the effect of competitive inhibitors. Furthermore, this in vitro inhibition was confirmed by in vivo suppression of starch digestion and absorption induced by both plant extracts in normal rats. These findings suggest that the hypoglycemic effect of Fenugreek and Balanites is mediated through insulinomimetic effect as well as inhibition of intestinal alpha-amylase activity.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2006 · Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry