Protective effects of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa seeds on beta-cell damage in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats: a light and electron microscopic study

KANTER M., Akpolat M., Aktaş C.

JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR HISTOLOGY, vol.40, pp.379-385, 2009 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s10735-009-9251-0
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.379-385


The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible protective effects of the volatile oil of Nigella sativa (NS) seeds on insulin immunoreactivity and ultrastructural changes of pancreatic beta-cells in STZ-induced diabetic rats. STZ was injected intraperitoneally at a single dose of 50 mg/kg to induce diabetes. The rats in NS treated groups were given NS (0.2 ml/kg) once a day orally for 4 weeks starting 3 days prior to STZ injection. To date, no ultrastructural changes of pancreatic beta-cells in STZ induced diabetic rats by NS treatment have been reported. Islet cell degeneration and weak insulin immunohistochemical staining was observed in rats with STZ-induced diabetes. Increased intensity of staining for insulin, and preservation of beta-cell numbers were apparent in the NS-treated diabetic rats. The protective effect of NS on STZ-diabetic rats was evident by a moderate increase in the lowered secretory vesicles with granules and also slight destruction with loss of cristae within the mitochondria of beta-cell when compared to control rats. These findings suggest that NS treatment exerts a therapeutic protective effect in diabetes by decreasing morphological changes and preserving pancreatic beta-cell integrity. Consequently, NS may be clinically useful for protecting beta-cells against oxidative stress.