Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

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Inhibitory effect of rhubarb on intestinal α-glucosidase activity in type 1 diabetic rats

K.J. Hou, C.J. Lin, C Chen, B.T. Wu, X.H. Wang, D Zhu


Purpose: To investigate the inhibitory effect of rhubarb on α-glucosidase activity in the small intestine of rats with type 1 diabetes.

Methods: Type 1 diabetic rat model was established by intraperitoneally injecting 30 male SD rats with 1 % streptozocin (STZ). Rats with fasting blood glucose > 11 mmol/L (24) were used for the study. The rats were randomly divided into three equal groups including control, acarbose and rhubarb groups. Arcabose® (20 mg/kg /day) and rhubarb (100 mg/kg /day) were given by intra-gastric route via insertion of the cannula through the esophagus. Daily fasting blood glucose and daily postprandial glucose levels were assayed for all groups. On day 6, postprandial blood glucose, blood levels of C-peptide and insulin, and intestinal α-glucosidase were also determined.

Results: There were no significant differences in levels of C-peptide, insulin and fasting blood glucose between control, Acarbose® and rhubarb groups (p > 0.05). However, α-glucosidase activity at 0, 30, 60 and 120 min in the rhubarb group was 1759.2, 1812.8, 1379.8 and 772.1 U, respectively,) while in the Acarbose® group it was 178.6, 1260.1, 1126.5, 599.2 U, respectively. α-Glucosidase activity in both groups initially showed an increase (p < 0.05), followed by a decline from 60 to 120 min (p ˂ 0.05). After 120 min, α-glucosidase activity in each of the two groups was significantly decreased compared with untreated control (1200 U) (p ˂ 0.05).

Conclusion: The inhibitory effect of rhubarb on intestinal α-glucosidase activity of Type 1 diabetic rats is comparable to that of Arcabose®.This suggests that this plant may have clinically potent anti-diabetic properties.

Keywords: Type 1 diabetes, α-Glucosidase activity, Acarbose®, Rhubarb, Postprandial glucose level
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