Despite an increasing use of medicinal plants in diabetes mellitus therapy, their use is usually based on empirical knowledge. This work aims to evaluate the effects of decoctions prepared from Arctium minus Bernh. on glycaemic control of goto-kakizaki (GK) rats, a type 2 diabetes mellitus animal model, and access the potential toxicity of A. minus decoctions, using liver mitochondrial preparations. GK rats were drinking ad libitum A. minus root decoction for an interval of 4 weeks. During this time, food and beverage ingested and weight increase were controlled. Occasional glycaemias were also evaluated twice a week. Intraperitoneal glucose tolerance was determined at the beginning and at the end of the experiment. Four weeks later, GK rats liver mitochondria were isolated and respiratory parameters evaluated. A. minus root decoctions did not significantly affect the glycaemic control and long-lasting treatments induced noxious effects, considering that the liver mitochondria isolated from A. minus treated GK rats presented a significant decrease in mitochondrial respiratory parameters (RCR and FCCP stimulated respiration). This study showed that long lasting treatments with A. minus tea induced deleterious effects on cellular metabolism and, thus, should be avoided in type 2 diabetes long-term therapy.
Key words: Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, type 2 diabetes mellitus, Arctium minusBernh., phytotherapy, oxidative phosphorylation, toxicology.
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