The effect of pulp and seed extract of Citrullus Colocynthis, as an antidaibetic medicinal herb, on hepatocytes glycogen stores in diabetic rabbits


1 Department of Anatomy, Medical School, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Institute, Isfahan, Iran

2 Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran

3 Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Center, Isfahan Cardiovascular Research Institute, Isfahan, Iran


Background : Medicinal herbs such as Citrullus Colocynthis (C.C) have been used traditionally in the treatment of diabetes mellitus. However therapeutic applications and adverse effects of C.C and its natural variants are not determined well. The current work investigates the effects of pulp and seed extract of C.C on hepatocyte's glycogen stores.
Materials and Methods : Thirty six male rabbits were divided into six groups (control and diabetic) randomly. Alloxan was used in order to induce diabetes mellitus in animals. Among 5 diabetic groups, one remained as control and the rest received 100 and 200 mg/kg/day of either pulp or seed extract. One month later, animals were sacrificed and their liver specimen fixed in 10% Formalin was stained with periodic acid schiff (PAS) for light microscopic scanning.
Results : PAS staining of hepatocytes revealed large amounts of glycogen stores in diabetic animals treated with pulp and seed extracts of C.C, contrary with non-treated diabetic rabbits. Sites of glycogen deposition were also different in animals treated with seed extract (P < 0.0001). No hepatic congestion was seen in treated animals. Dose escalation has no effect on the obtained results.
Conclusions : The anti-diabetic effects of C.C can be explained by its effects on accumulation of glycogen stores in hepatocytes. The importance of varied sites of glycogen deposition by the application of C.C needs to be determined.


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