Effect of aqueous extract of the leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana 'Godseffiana' Muell Arg (Euphorbiaceae) on the hematology, plasma biochemistry and ocular indices of oxidative stress in alloxan induced diabetic rats

Jude C Ikewuchi, Eugene N Onyeike, Augustine A Uwakwe, Catherine C Ikewuchi
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2011 October 11, 137 (3): 1415-24

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: The leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana are used in Southern Nigeria for the management of hypertension and diabetes mellitus. In this study, the effect of aqueous extract of the leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana on the hematology, plasma biochemistry and ocular indices of oxidative stress was investigated in alloxan induced diabetic rats.

METHODOLOGY: Diabetes mellitus was induced by injection of alloxan (80 mg/kg body weight), via the tail vein. The extract was administered orally at 100, 200 and 300 mg/kg (both to normal and diabetic rats), and metformin at 50mg/kg.

RESULTS: On gas chromatographic analysis of the extract, twenty nine known flavonoids were detected, consisting mainly of 29.77% apigenin, 14.97% quercetin, 11.12% naringenin, 10.62% kaempferol, 9.05% (-)-epicatechin and 4.04% (+)-catechin. Tannic acid and β-sitosterol were also detected. Compared to test control, the treatment lowered (significantly, P < 0.05) plasma glucose, triglyceride, conjugated bilirubin levels, atherogenic index of plasma, plasma alanine transaminase activity, total protein and total bilirubin, aspartate transaminase activity and unconjugated bilirubin, plasma urea, blood urea nitrogen and ocular malondialdehyde contents, lymphocyte and monocyte counts, and not significantly, plasma very low density lipoprotein cholesterol, but increased (significantly, P < 0.05) plasma calcium contents, total white cell and platelet counts, mean cell volume and ocular ascorbic acid content, and (though not significantly) plasma high density lipoprotein cholesterol level, red cell and neutrophil counts.

CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that the extract was hypoglycemic, positively affected the hemopoietic system and integrity and function (dose dependently) of the liver and kidney of the diabetic rats; improved the lipid profile and had no deleterious effect on red cell morphology. It also protected against oxidative stress in ocular tissues. This study also revealed the presence of pharmacologically active compounds in the leaf extract. All of these highlights the cardioprotective potential of the leaves of Acalypha wilkesiana and support its use in traditional health practices for the management of diabetes mellitus.

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