The antioxidant composition of unripe plantain and its free radical scavenging activity on alloxan induced diabetic rabbits and on DPPH radical was investigated. 10 male rabbits weighing between 1.58 and 1.88 kg were used for this study. Diabetes was induced in the experimental rabbits with alloxan (35 mg/kg body weight. ip). Group 1 rabbits served as the control groups and they received normal rabbit feeds. Group 2 rabbits were the animals of group 1 which were made diabetic by the injection of alloxan and they also received normal rabbit feeds while group 3 rabbits (test groups) were the animals of group 2 which were later fed with unripe plantain at a dosage of 25 kg/kg body weight/day for 4 weeks. The duration of the experiment was 7 weeks and the weights of the animals in each group were recorded daily throughout the experiment while the blood glucose levels, malonaldehyde, catalase and glutathione were recorded on a 2 weeks interval. The results show that the diabetic rabbits placed on unripe plantain diet had an increase in their body weights, glutathione and catalase levels but a decrease in malonaldehyde and blood glucose levels after 4 weeks of unripe plantain intake when compared with the control (p<0.05). Correlation analysis carried out revealed that glutathione correlated negatively with malonaldehyde and glucose (r = -0.77 and -0.89), but positively with catalase and body weight (r = 0.60 and 0.70). Malonaldehyde correlated negatively with catalase and body weight (r = -0.44 and -0.72) but positively with glucose (r = 0.86). The antioxidant composition of the methanolic extracts of the unripe plantain flour as determined by the quantities of peroxidase and quercetin present was 52±0.00% peroxidase and 5.32 ug/ml quercetin while its free radical scavenging activity on DPPH radical was 78.57±0.00%. Analysis of the proximate and phytochemical composition of the unripe plantain flour showed that it contained 3.16±0.04% protein, 0.21±0.003% lipid, 52±2.82% moisture, 5.5±0.42% ash, 1.58±0.04% tannin, 1.82±0.05% saponin, 1.37±0.05% alkaloid and 0.98±0.00% flavonoid. These findings suggest that raised blood glucose level in diabetics could deplete cells of their antioxidant status by decreasing the glutathione and red cell catalase levels leading to an increased malonaldehyde level which is a marker of oxidative stress. In addition, unripe plantain intake by a diabetic could exert a free radical scavenging activity by restoring the altered antioxidant status since itself could serve as a natural source of antioxidants.
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C.O. Eleazu, P.N. Okafor and Ikpeama Ahamefuna, 2010. Total Antioxidant Capacity, Nutritional Composition and Inhibitory Activity of Unripe Plantain (Musa paradisiacae) on Oxidative Stress in Alloxan Induced Diabetic Rabbits. Pakistan Journal of Nutrition, 9: 1052-1057.
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