Antiobesity, hypolipidemic, antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of Achyranthes aspera seed saponins in high cholesterol fed albino rats
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Submission date: 2014-01-21
Final revision date: 2014-04-08
Acceptance date: 2014-05-06
Online publication date: 2015-12-11
Publication date: 2015-12-17
Arch Med Sci 2015;11(6):1261–1271
Introduction: Numerous herbal medicines have been recommended for the treatment of different diseases. Achyranthes aspera, Linn. (Family: Amaranthaceae), popularly known as Charchitta or Pitpapra, is commonly used by traditional healers for the treatment of fever, malaria, dysentery, asthma, arterial hypertension, pneumonia, and diabetes. The root extract is well reputed for its insect molting hormonal activity. This investigation was conducted to evaluate the effects of saponins from Achyranthes aspera seeds on the serum lipid profile of albino rats fed a high cholesterol diet.
Material and methods: Hypolipidemic, antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities of these saponins were tested as described previously. To determine the mechanism underlying the observed effects, serum antioxidant status was assessed according to ABTS (2,2’-azino-bis-3-ethylbenzo-thiazoline-6-sulfonic acid), superoxide dismutase and ferric ion reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assays in saponin-treated hyperlipidemic animals. Liver enzyme levels were determined to reveal any possible hepatotoxicity.
Results: Four-week oral administration of A. aspera seed saponins produced a significant (p < 0.05) decrease of total cholesterol, total triglycerides and LDL-C and a significant increase of HDL-C level in hyperlipidemic rats. Treatment with A. aspera seed saponins also showed a significant (p < 0.01) improvement of serum antioxidant status in tested animals. No significant hepatotoxicity was produced by such treatment as the serum liver enzyme activity remained unaltered.
Conclusions: Saponins from A. aspera seeds possess antihyperlipidemic and antioxidant properties which might lead to improvement of serum lipid profile and blood antioxidant status. Our findings support the folkloric use of this indigenous plant in the treatment of hyperlipidemia. However, its exact mechanism of action remains to be elucidated.