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Life Sci. 2002 Nov 1;71(24):2845-65.

Gastroprotective effect of Neem (Azadirachta indica) bark extract: possible involvement of H(+)-K(+)-ATPase inhibition and scavenging of hydroxyl radical.

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Department of Physiology, Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, 4, Raja S. C. Mullick road, Kolkata 700032, India.


The antisecretory and antiulcer effects of aqueous extract of Neem (Azadirachta indica) bark have been studied along with its mechanism of action, standardisation and safety evaluation. The extract can dose dependently inhibit pylorus-ligation and drug (mercaptomethylimidazole)-induced acid secretion with ED(50) value of 2.7 and 2 mg Kg(-1) b.w. respectively. It is highly potent in dose-dependently blocking gastric ulcer induced by restraint-cold stress and indomethacin with ED(50) value of 1.5 and 1.25 mg Kg(-1) b.w. respectively. When compared, bark extract is equipotent to ranitidine but more potent than omeprazole in inhibiting pylorus-ligation induced acid secretion. In a stress ulcer model, it is more effective than ranitidine but almost equipotent to omeprazole. Bark extract inhibits H(+)-K(+)-ATPase activity in vitro in a concentration dependent manner similar to omeprazole. It offers gastroprotection against stress ulcer by significantly preventing adhered mucus and endogenous glutathione depletion. It prevents oxidative damage of the gastric mucosa by significantly blocking lipid peroxidation and by scavenging the endogenous hydroxyl radical ((z.rad;)OH)-the major causative factor for ulcer. The (z.rad;)OH-mediated oxidative damage of human gastric mucosal DNA is also protected by the extract in vitro. Bark extract is more effective than melatonin, vitamin E, desferrioxamine and alpha-phenyl N-tert butylnitrone, the known antioxidants having antiulcer effect. Standardisation of the bioactive extract by high pressure liquid chromatography indicates that peak 1 of the chromatogram coincides with the major bioactive compound, a phenolic glycoside, isolated from the extract. The pharmacological effects of the bark extract are attributed to a phenolic glycoside which is apparently homogeneous by HPLC and which represents 10% of the raw bark extract. A single dose of 1g of raw extract per kg b.w. (mice) given in one day and application of 0.6g raw extract per kg b.w. per day by oral route over 15 days to a cumulative dose of 9g per kg was well tolerated and was below the LD(50). It is also well tolerated by rats with no significant adverse effect. It is concluded that Neem bark extract has therapeutic potential for the control of gastric hyperacidity and ulcer.

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