A new use for okra? Researchers seek natural, alternative method to treat diabetes

November 2, 2012
Abelmoschus esculentus (AE) is one the natural plant that has been used to manage diabetes. Credit: CC Natalie Maynor http://www.flickr.com/photos/nataliemaynor/7163983339/

Researchers have studied the suitability of Abelmoschus Esculentus (AE) as complementary or as an alternative approach to treat diabetics.

Numerous studies have been carried out on AE but not much report is available on the bioactive properties of AE despite its wide usage as a medicinal plant. This study attempts to find out the hypoclycemic effects of AE, known as Okra (lady's finger),a in the mallow family and is cultivated in tropical and warm temperate regions around the world.

The researchers investigated differential expression of diabetic-specific genes in liver tissues of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced in response to AE treatment. Induced mice were divided into two groups (i) mice (n=4) were given distilled water and were set as a control, and ii) mice (n=4) were treated with 250 mg/kg of AE.

Three diabetes-specific genes of interest; carboxylesterase 2 (CES2), stearoyl-Coenzyme A desaturase 1 (SCD1) and insulin-like growth factor 1(IGF1) were selected and the of these genes were examined quantitatively. The results showed SCD1 and IGF1 were upregulated at 3.94 and 1.17 fold respectively and CES2 was downregulated at – 1.92.

This molecular study revealed the anti-diabetic properties of the AE and suggests that the extract could be developed as a prospective phytomedicinal plant. However, the researchers indicated that the physiological status of each rat may give different results with different interpretation.

The researchers suggest that future studies should involve larger array of genes analysis system, for example using microarray as a tool to reveal the of the hypoglycemic properties of AE.

The findings in this experiment revealed the changes in that may relate to the underlying mechanism of diabetic pathophysiology, suggesting a new potential target for . Knowledge gained from this may be used to develop a new research which could enable researchers to extract the pure compound that actually demonstrated the hypoglycemic effect in diabetic mice.

Explore further: Research aims to prevent diabetic kidney failure

Related Stories

Research aims to prevent diabetic kidney failure

November 5, 2011

The enzyme arginase-2 plays a major role in kidney failure, and blocking the action of this enzyme might lead to protection against renal disease in diabetes, according to researchers.

Recommended for you

New theory on how insulin resistance, metabolic disease begin

September 26, 2016

Does eating too much sugar cause type 2 diabetes? The answer may not be simple, but a study published Sept. 26 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation adds to growing research linking excessive sugar consumption—specifically ...

Unique molecular atlas of pancreas produced

September 23, 2016

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet have managed to produce the first molecular map of the genes that are active in the various cells of the human pancreas. They have also revealed differences in genetic activity between ...

Can long naps cause diabetes?

September 14, 2016

A study presented at a scientific congress Thursday reported a link between long naps and a higher risk of diabetes, though it couldn't say if daytime sleeping was a symptom or a cause.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.