Comparison of the antidiabetic activity of Berberis lyceum root extract and berberine in alloxan-induced diabetic rats
Gulfraz, M., Mehmood, S., Ahmad, A., Fatima, N., Praveen, Z. and Williamson, E. M. (2008) Comparison of the antidiabetic activity of Berberis lyceum root extract and berberine in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Phytotherapy Research, 22 (9). pp. 1208-1212. ISSN 0951-418X
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2438
Berberine has been shown to have hypoglycaemic activity in several in vitro and in vivo models, although the mechanism of action is not fully known. Berberis lyceum Royle root produces high concentrations of berberine, and in traditional medicine, the whole extract of this plant is used widely to treat diabetes. The antidiabetic activity of the ethanol root extract of Berberis lyceum was compared with pure berberine in normal and alloxan-diabetic rats using similar doses of each. The concentration of berberine in the extract was determined to be 80% dry weight with only trace amounts of other alkaloids present. The purpose of the study was to investigate the effects of berberine and a whole extract of Berberis lyceum on blood glucose and other parameters associated with diabetes, to compare the effects of the crude extract with those of pure berberine and thus validate its use as a therapeutic agent, and finally to identify any contribution of the other components of the extract to these effects. Oral administration of 50 mg/kg of Berberis extract and berberine to normal and experimental diabetic rats produced a significant (p < 0.05) reduction in blood glucose levels from days 3-7 days of treatment. Significant effects were also observed on the glucose tolerance, glycosylated haemoglobin, serum lipid profiles and body weight of experimental animals. Berberis extract and berberine demonstrated similar effects on all parameters measured, and although the extract was comparable in efficacy to berberine, it did not produce any effects additional to those shown by pure berberine. The results support the use of the extract in traditional medicine, and demonstrate that apart from being a highly cost-effective means of treating with berberine, the total extract does not appear to confer any additional benefits or disadvantages compared with the pure compound. Copyright (c) 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.