Proceedings of The Physiological Society

University of Manchester (2010) Proc Physiol Soc 19, PC283

Poster Communications

Anti-gastric ulcer effect of betulinic acid in male albino rats

C. Onwuchekwa1,2, F. S. Oluwole2,1

1. Department of Physiology, College of Health Sciences,, Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto, Sokoto, Nigeria. 2. Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences,, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria.


Betulinic acid (BA) is a lupane-type triterpene that has been identified and isolated from different plant species used in ethnomedicine worldwide. It exerts a number of biological activities that includes anti-ulcer, anti-tumor, and anti-microbial properties. However the anti-gastric ulcer property of BA has not been investigated. The effect of BA on indomethacin-induced peptic ulcer, gastric mucus secretion (GMS), gastric mucus cell count (GMCC), basal and histamine-induced gastric acid secretion (GAS), and malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration level were studied as means of elucidating anti-gastric ulcer of BA. Thirty-two rats divided into four groups of eight rats each were used for each study. Group I (Control) was pretreated orally with dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) in normal saline for 7 days. Groups II, III and IV were pretreated orally with BA (0.5 mg/kg, 1.5 mg/kg, and 3.0 mg/kg) dissolved in DMSO, respectively, for 7 days. Indomethacin was administered subcutaneously at a dose of 40mg/kg body weight to induce gastric ulceration, which was carried out and scored by ulcer scoring technique. Measurement of GMS was performed using spectrophotometric method, while GMCC was done by using calibrated microscopy. GAS was assessed by continuous perfusion technique and its acidity determined by titration. Histological studies of the stomach mucosa were also carried out. MDA levels were determined by measuring thiobarbituric acid reactive substances produced. Data were expressed as Mean ± SEM. Student’s t-test and one way ANOVA were used to determine levels of significance (p<0.05). There was a dose dependent reduction in ulcer scores in the BA treated animals. This reduction was significant (p<0.05) at doses of 1.5mg/kg (0.8 ± 0.10) and 3.0mg/kg (0.3 ± 0.09) compared to the control (7.0 ± 0.27). GMS (mg/g tissue x 10-2) significantly increased (p<0.05) in the 1.5 mg/kg (4.9 ± 0.22) and 3.0 mg/kg (5.2 ± 0.09) pretreated groups compared to the control (4.4 ± 0.20) group. There was also a dose-dependent significant increase (p<0.05) in the GMCC/mm2 of BA treated rats [0.5 mg/kg (44.4 ± 0.84); 1.5 mg/kg (45.9 ± 0.79); 3.0 mg/kg (54.1± 0.71)] compared with the control group (41.4 ± 0.71). The histamine-induced GAS was significantly higher than the basal GAS (p<0.05). However, there was a significant decrease in GAS of BA treated groups compared with the control (p<0.05). Histological studies showed significant increase in the population of mucus cells compared to the control group. There was a significant decrease (p<0.05) in MDA (µmol/L x 10-6) levels in the BA treated groups [0.5 mg/kg (1.86± 0.076), 1.5 mg/kg (1.83 ± 0.069) and 3.0 mg/kg (1.10 ± 0.056)] compared to the control (2.60 ± 0.110) group. The anti-gastric ulcer effect of BA may be mediated by increasing GMS and number of GMCC, decreasing GAS via the blocking of H2-receptors and decreasing levels of MDA concentration.

Where applicable, experiments conform with Society ethical requirements