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Helonias dioica (HD) is a threatened species of herb growing in North America. It is used as a traditional medicine for treating various ailments particularly related to reproductive issues. The root is reported to contain approximately 10% of a saponin (chamaelirin; C36H62O18) apart from certain other fatty acids. As saponins are known to have hypoglycemic effects, we suspected its possible antihyperglycemic potentials. We injected intraperitoneally alloxan (ALX) at the dose of 200 mg/kg body weight (bw) to induce hyperglycemia in mice and tested possible hypoglycemic effects of HD in vivo by deploying two doses (100 and 200 mg/kg bw, respectively). We also tested its effects on the isolated pancreatic islets cells in vitro. We used various standard protocols like reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and DNA damage, activities of biomarkers like catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), lipid peroxidase (LPO), reduced glutathione (GSH) of the pancreas tissue and glucokinase and glycogen content of the liver of hyperglycemic mice. With a mechanistic approach, we also tracked down the possible signaling pathway involved. We found an elevated level of ROS generation, LPO and overexpression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS), tumor necrosis factor α (TNF- α), p38 Map kinase (p38 MAPK), nuclear factor (NF)- κβ, interferon gamma (IFN- γ), cytochrome c, caspase 3, poly [ADP ribose] polymerase (PARP) and cyclo oxygenase 2 (COX2) in ALX-induced diabetic mouse. Treatment of hyperglycemic mice with both the doses of HD showed a significant decrease with respect to all these parameters of study. Thus, our results suggest that HD prevents ALX-induced islet cell damage and possesses antihyperglycemic and antioxidative potentials.

Original publication




Journal article


Experimental Biology and Medicine


SAGE Publications

Publication Date





64 - 76