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Purpose: To investigate the antidiabetic effect of Balanites aegyptiaca fruit kernel, flesh and their mixture on streptozocin (STZ)-induced diabetes in male rats.
Methods: Six-week-old male Wistar rats were divided into nine groups: (1) control; (2) kernel; (3) flesh; (4) kernel + flesh; (5) STZ; (6) STZ + kernel; (7) STZ + flesh; (8) STZ + (kernel + flesh) and (9) STZ + metformin. Body weight changes, fasting blood glucose and serum insulin were assessed. Haematoxylin and Eosin (H & E) stained pancreas sections were examined microscopically for the number and status of β cells.
Results: Administration of Balanites aegyptiaca kernel, flesh and their mixture significantly increased rat body weight compared to STZ-treated rats. In addition, the hypoglycemic effect of kernel, flesh and their mixture was noticed. In STZ-treated rats, administration of Balanites aegyptiaca kernel and kernel + flesh mixture significantly increased serum insulin (p < 0.05). Histopathological examination revealed a marked increase in the islets cell population with cellular activation, with superior effect in STZ + kernel group and STZ + (kernel + flesh) group.
Conclusion: Balanites aegyptiaca showed a hypoglycemic effect which is comparable to metformin action. Further studies are required to determine its suitability as an anti-diabetic agent in humans
Keywords: Balanites aegyptiaca, Diabetes, Histopathology, Insulin, Pancreas