Novel lipid-lowering properties of Vaccinium myrtillus L. leaves, a traditional antidiabetic treatment, in several models of rat dyslipidaemia: a comparison with ciprofibrate.

Author

Cignarella A, Nastasi M, Cavalli E, Puglisi L.

Date

1/12/1996

Journal

Thromb Res

Abstract

Vaccinium myrtillus L. (blueberry) leaf infusions are traditionally used as a folk medicine treatment of diabetes. To further define this therapeutical action, a dried hydroalcoholic extract of the leaf was administered orally to streptozotocin-diabetic rats for 4 days. Plasma glucose levels were consistently found to drop by about 26% at two different stages of diabetes. Unexpectedly, plasma triglyceride (TG) were also decreased by 39% following treatment. Subsequent to the latter observation, possible lipid-lowering properties of the extract were investigated on other models of hyperlipidaemia and ciprofibrate, a well-established hypolipidaemic drug, was used as a reference compound. Both drug reduced TG levels of rats on hyperlipidaemic diet in a dose-dependent fashion. When administered at single doses over the same experimental period, blueberry and ciprofibrate were effective in lowering TG concentrations in ethanol- treated normolipidaemic animals and in genetically hyperlipidaemic Yoshida rats. Unlike ciprofibrate, however, blueberry failed to prevent the rise in plasma TG elicited by fructose and did not affect free fatty acid levels in any of the above experimental conditions. In rats treated with Triton WR-1339, blueberry feeding induced an hypolipidaemic activity one hour after injection but proved to be ineffective at later time points, thus suggesting that its hypolipidaemic action may reflect improved TG-rich lipoprotein catabolism. In addition, ciprofibrate and the extract were tested for antithrombotic activity using a collagen-triggered model of venous thrombosis in diabetic and Yoshida rats. Only ciprofibrate, however, significantly reduced thrombus formation in diabetics, possibly because of its effects on free fatty acid metabolism, whereas no effect was observed in Yoshida rats. In conclusion, the present findings indicate that active consituent(s) of Vaccinium myrtillus L. leaves may prove potentially useful for treatment of dyslipidaemiae associated with impaired TG-rich lipoprotein clearance.