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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 237941, 7 pages
Original Article

In Vivo Anti-Diabetic Activity of the Ethanolic Crude Extract of Sorbus decora C.K.Schneid. (Rosacea): A Medicinal Plant Used by Canadian James Bay Cree Nations to Treat Symptoms Related to Diabetes

1CIHR Team in Aboriginal Anti-Diabetic Medicines, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1J4
2Natural Health Products and Metabolic Diseases Laboratory, Department of Pharmacology, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1J4
3Department of Physiology, Université de Montréal, Montreal, QC, Canada H3T 1J4
4Department of Biology, University of Ottawa, ON, Canada

Received 12 May 2009; Accepted 10 September 2009

Copyright © 2011 Rose Vianna et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A number of potential anti-diabetic plants were identified through an ethnobotanical survey of the traditional pharmacopeia of the Cree of Eeyou Istchee (CEI—Northeastern Canada) used against symptoms of diabetes and their biological activity assessed by in vitro bioassays. Among these, Sorbus decora C.K.Schneid. (Rosacea) ranked highly and increased the transport of glucose in skeletal muscle cells in culture. The present study thus aimed at confirming the antidiabetic potential of S. decora in in vivo models of insulin resistance and diabetes, notably the streptozotocin Type 1 diabetic rat (STZ), the genetic Type 2 diabetic mouse and the rat rendered insulin resistant with 10% glucose water consumption for 6 weeks. Sorbus decora ethanolic crude extract (SDEE) was administered orally (200 mg  ) and compared to metformin (150 or 500 mg  ). The intragastric (i.g.) gavage of SDEE transiently decreased glycemia in STZ rats in a bi-phasic manner but the effect was cumulative over several days. In mice, SDEE incorporated in food (0.12%) decreased glycemia by 15% within 1 week as compared to vehicle controls. In pre-diabetic insulin-resistant rats, SDEE fed daily by i.g. gavage for 2 weeks significantly decreased the slight hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia, without affecting sugar water intake. Using the HOMA insulin resistance parameter, the effect of SDEE was equivalent to that of metformin. In conclusion, the ethanolic crude extract of S. decora demonstrates both anti-hyperglycemic and insulin-sensitizing activity in vivo, thereby confirming anti-diabetic potential and validating CEI traditional medicine.