Background: Urtica dioica has been used as antihypertensive, antihyperlipidemic and antidiabetic herbal medicine. The purpose of this study was to study the effect of hydroalcoholic extract of Urtica dioica on fructose-induced insulin resistance rats.
Methods: Forty male Wistar rats were randomly divided into five groups including control, fructose, extract 50, extract 100 and extract 200. The control rat received vehicle, the fructose and extract groups received fructose 10% for eight weeks. The extract groups received single daily injection of vehicle, 50, 100 or 200 mg/kg/day for the two weeks. Blood glucose, insulin, last fasting insulin resistance index (FIRI), serum triglyceride (TG), low-density lipoprotein (LDL), very low-density lipoprotein (VLDL), high-density lipoprotein (HDL), alanin trasaminase (AST) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), leptin and LDL/HDL ratio were determined.
Results: Compared to control group, daily administration of fructose was associated with significant increase in FIRI, blood glucose and insulin, significant decrease in lepin, and no significant change in TG, HDL, LDL, LDL/HDL ratio, VLDL, ALT, and ALP. The extract significantly decreased serum glucose, insulin, LDL and leptin, and LDL/HDL ratio and FIRI. It also significantly increased serum TG, VLDL, and AST, but did not change serum ALP.
Conclusion: We suggest that Urtica dioica extract, by decreasing serum glucose, and FIRI, may be useful to improve type 2 diabetes mellitus. Also, by positive effect on lipid profile and by decreasing effect on leptin, it may improve metabolic syndrome.
Diabetes mellitus occurs when the body can’t use glucose normally, and is associated with increased serum triglycerides, decreased serum HDL and sometimes increased serum LDL.1 According to ancient medical texts, Urtica dioica may be used for the treatment of high blood sugar.2 Hypoglycemic activity of Urtica dioica was detected in a large pharmacological screen of European species with known potential anti-diabetic effects.3 It has also been reported that the extract of the leaves or other parts of the plan were of benefits in conditions such as prostatic hyperplasia, Inflammation, arthritis rheumatoid, hypertension and allergic rhinitis.4 Urtica dioica has been reported to have histamine, formic acid, acetylcholine, acetic acid, butyric acid, leukotrienes, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and other irritants.5,6 This study aimed to evaluate the effect of Urtica dioica leaf extract on blood glucose, lipid profile, insulin and leptin in rat model of fructose-induced insulin resistance.