Antidiabetic effects and erythrocyte stabilization by red cabbage extract in streptozotocin-treated rats
The protective effect of red cabbage extract (RCE) was evaluated in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, assessing a probable role of this extract in the prevention of erythrocyte impairments associated with a high risk of vascular complications in diabetes. RCE was analyzed by ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, and 11 anthocyanins, 3 hydroxybenzoic acids and 9 hydroxycinnamic acids were identified. Type 1 diabetes was induced by streptozotocin (60 mg kg−1) in Wistar male rats (n = 8 per group). After 7 days of acclimatization, streptozotocin-treated rats were given RCE (800 mg kg−1) or vehicle by intragastric administration for 4 weeks. The RCE treatment lowered blood glucose, and glycated and fetal hemoglobin concentrations and improved glucose tolerance as well as considerably raised serum insulin, proinsulin and C-peptide levels in streptozotocin-treated rats. Simultaneously, RCE improved pancreatic islet morphology, increasing the amount of pancreatic β-cells in diabetic animals. The RCE administration prevented anemia in rats with streptozotocin-induced diabetes, enhanced erythrocyte resistance to acid hemolysis, and normalized reticulocyte production as well as sialic acid content in erythrocyte membranes. The enhanced lectin-induced erythrocyte aggregation in diabetic rats was significantly lowered after the RCE treatment. RCE demonstrated a significant antioxidant effect, decreasing MDA and protein carbonyl contents and increasing catalase and glutathione peroxidase activities in erythrocytes. These results indicate that RCE can be considered as a promising candidate for use as a drug or a food supplement to alleviate diabetes and its vascular complications.