Opuntia stricta cladode Extract reduces blood glucose levels in Alloxan-induced diabetic mice.
Kalungia, Chichony Aubrey
Bwalya, Angela Gono
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Opuntia stricta (commonly called prickly pear cactus) is a natural plant that grows in some parts of Zambia where its fruits and cladodes are commonly consumed for nutritional and medicinal purposes, including glycaemic control among some patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). There is insufficient evidence whether Opuntia stricta indigenously growing in Zambia possess antidiabetic effects.To assess in vivo antidiabetic effects of the aqueous extract of Opuntia stricta cladodes in alloxan-induced diabetic mice. A laboratory-based experimental study was conducted involving 20 adult Swiss albino mice (Mus musculus) weighing 18-30 g. DM was induced using a single intraperitoneal dose of alloxan monohydrate 90 mg/kg. Opuntia stricta aqueous extract was administered orally and blood glucose levels (in mmol/L) monitored daily for 10 days. Alloxan induced a 4- to 5-fold sustained increase in blood glucose levels at 72 hours after administration in mice. Within a 10-day experimental period, Opuntia stricta cladode aqueous extract (1 mg/kg) significantly reduced blood glucose levels in vivo (from 16.6 ± 1.4 mmol/L, 95% CI: 14.9-18.3 at baseline to 7.5 ± 1.0 mmol/L, 95% CI: 6.2-8.9 at endpoint, p < 0.001, n = 5). Similarly, at a dose of 2 mg/kg, the extract significantly reduced blood glucose levels (from 18.7 ± 4.6 mmol/L, 95% CI: 13.0-24.4 at baseline to 6.9 ± 1.7 mmol/L, 95% CI: 4.7-9.0 at endpoint, p = 0.001, n = 5). Opuntia stricta cladode aqueous extract attained a greater reduction in blood glucose levels compared to Glibenclamide 0.25 mg/kg. Opuntia stricta cladode aqueous extract demonstrated a presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, sterols, carbohydrates, phenols and tannins. Opuntia stricta cladode from Zambia demonstrates antidiabetic effects to reduce blood glucose levels in vivo.