Dyslipidemia is one of the most common complications in diabetes mellitus, which increases risk of premature atherosclerosis. Drugs having antihyperlipidemic activity in addition to their hypoglycemic effect in diabetes may be suitable anti-atherosclerotic agents in diabetic patients. The present study was aimed to investigate the anti-atherosclerotic activity of an aqueous extract of Withania coagulans (AWC) in terms of atherogenic index (AI) in normal and streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. AWC (1,000 mg/kg body weight, BW) was orally administrated in normal and STZ (70 mg/kg)-induced diabetic rats and levels of glucose, total cholesterol (CHL), high density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol and triglyceride (TG) levels in the plasma were analyzed spectrophotometrically. BW was measured and AI was calculated in each group. Results show that after sub-chronic dosing, AWC reduced plasma glucose levels both in normal and diabetic rats, while significantly decreasing plasma levels of CHL, HDL and TG only in STZ-induced diabetic rats. Repeated administration of AWC also significantly decreased AI and prevented weight loss in STZ-induced diabetic animals. Hence, AWC showed anti-hyperlipidemic activity in diabetic rats and was suggested to be a suitable candidate for the treatment of atherosclerosis associated with diabetes.
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