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Mol Nutr Food Res. 2005 Aug;49(8):791-6.

Bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) modulates activities of intestinal and renal disaccharidases in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.

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Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition, Central Food Technological Research Institute, Mysore, India.


During diabetes, structural and functional changes in the alimentary tract are known to take place resulting in increased absorption of intestinal glucose and alterations in the activities of brush border disaccharidases. Similar observations are also reported in the renal cortex. In the present investigation, we examined the effect of feeding bitter gourd fruit devoid of seeds on activities of intestinal and renal disaccharidases, viz., maltase, sucrase, and lactase in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Normal and diabetic rats were fed either with basal diet or a diet containing 10% bitter gourd powder. Specific activities of intestinal disaccharidases were significantly increased during diabetes, and supplementing bitter gourd in the diet clearly indicated amelioration in the activities of maltase and lactase during diabetes. However, a significant change was not observed with sucrase activity by feeding of bitter gourd. During diabetes, renal disaccharidase activities were significantly lower than those in the control rats. Bitter gourd supplementation was beneficial in alleviating the reduction in maltase activity during diabetes. However, not much change in the activities of sucrase and lactase was observed upon feeding. This positive influence of feeding bitter gourd on intestinal and renal disaccharidases clearly indicates their beneficial role in the management of diabetes, thus making diabetic animals more tolerant to hyperglycemia.

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