Diabetes mellitus is a common metabolic disease. There are many natural agents available to control and treat diabetes. Crab shell extract has antioxidant properties. The aim of present study was to investigate the effect of crab shell hydroalcoholic extract on blood glucose, liver enzymes, nitric oxide and antioxidant capacity of serum and histological structure of pancreas in diabetic rats. In this experimental study, thirty five male Wistar rats (180-220 g) were divided into control, diabetic and experimental groups (n=7). Diabetes was induced by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (60 mg/kg). Rats were treated for 14 days by crab shell extract with 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg doses. Fasting blood glucose, serum levels of liver enzymes, nitric oxide (NO) and total antioxidant capacity were evaluated. Changes of pancreatic tissue were determined using a modified aldehyde fuchsin staining method. Data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA. Differences were considered statistically significant at P<0.05. Crab shell extract induced a significant reduction in blood glucose, serum levels of nitric oxide and ALT (P=0.033). Also, there were a significant increase in total antioxidant capacity (FRAP) (P=0.007), and insignificant decrease in serum levels of AST. The extract improved pancreatic tissue changes caused by diabetes. In conclusion, antioxidant and anti-diabetic effects of crab shell increase total antioxidant capacity of serum and decreased blood glucose, serum nitric oxide and ALT levels.
KEY WORDS: Diabetes mellitus; Crab shell; Antioxidant; Pancreas.