Open Access Research article

Pretreatment of Gymnema sylvestre revealed the protection against acetic acid-induced ulcerative colitis in rats

Abdulaziz M Aleisa1, Salim S Al-Rejaie1*, Hatem M Abuohashish12, Mohammed S Ola3, Mihir Y Parmar1 and Mohammed M Ahmed1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2457, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia

2 Department of Biomedical Dental Sciences, College of Dentistry, Dammam University, Dammam 31441, Saudi Arabia

3 Department of Biochemistry, College of Science, King Saud University, Riyadh 11415, Saudi Arabia

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:49  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-49

Published: 10 February 2014



Overproduction of free radicals and decreased antioxidant capacity are well-known risk factors for inflammatory bowel diseases. Gymnema sylvestre (GS) leaves extract is distinguished for its anti-diabetic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Present study is designed to evaluate the preventative activities of GS against acetic acid (AA)-induced ulcerative colitis in Wistar rats.


Experimentally ulcerative colitis (UC) was induced by AA in animals pretreated with three different doses of GS leaves extract (50, 100, 200 mg/kg/day) and a single dose of mesalazine (MES, 300 mg/kg/day) for seven days. Twenty four hours later, animals were sacrificed and the colonic tissues were collected. Colonic mucus content was determined using Alcian blue dye binding technique. Levels of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS), total glutathione sulfhydryl group (T-GSH) and non-protein sulfhydryl group (NPSH) as well as the activity of the antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) were estimated in colon tissues. Colonic nucleic acids (DNA and RNA) and total protein (TP) concentrations were also determined. Levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines including interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) as well as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and nitric oxide (NO) were estimated in colonic tissues. The histopathological changes of the colonic tissues were also observed.


In AA administered group TBARS levels were increased, while colonic mucus content, T-GSH and NP-SH, SOD and CAT were reduced in colon. Pretreatment with GS inhibited TBARS elevation as well as mucus content, T-GSH and NP-SH reduction. Enzymatic activities of SOD and CAT were brought back to their normal levels in GS pretreated group. A significant reduction in DNA, RNA and TP levels was seen following AA administration and this inhibition was significantly eliminated by GS treatment. GS pretreatment also inhibited AA-induced elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, PGE2 and NO levels in colon. The apparent UC protection was further confirmed by the histopathological screening.


The GS leaves extract showed significant amelioration of experimentally induced colitis, which may be attributed to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property.

Gymnema sylvestre; Inflammatory bowel diseases; Oxidative stress; Ulcerative colitis