Type 2 diabetes induced oxidative brain injury involves altered cerebellar neuronal integrity and elemental distribution, and exacerbated Nrf2 expression: therapeutic potential of raffia palm (Raphia hookeri) wine

  • Ochuko L. Erukainure
  • Omamuyovwi M. Ijomone
  • Olakunle Sanni
  • Michael Aschner
  • Md. Shahidul IslamEmail author
Original Article


Neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease have been recognized as one of the microvascular complications of type 2 diabetes (T2D). In this study, the effect of T2D on neuronal integrity and elemental distribution in the cerebellar cortex, as well as the therapeutic effect of Raffia Palm (Raphia hookeri) wine (RPW) were investigated in male albino rats. T2D was induced in 4 groups of rats using fructose and streptozotocin. One group served as negative control which was administered water, the second and third group were administered 150 and 300 mg/kg bodyweight of RPW, while the fourth was administered metformin (200 mg/kg bodyweight). Two other groups of normal rats were administered distilled water (control) and of RPW (300 mg/kg bodyweight). The rats were sacrificed after 5 weeks of treatment, and brains were collected. The cerebellum was removed, and several parts analyzed by immunochemistry, histology and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Remaining brain tissues were used to analyze for the oxidative stress biomarkers and acetylcholinesterase activity. These analyses revealed oxidative damage with concomitantly increased acetylcholinesterase activity and upregulation of Nrf2 expression in the diabetic brain cerebellar cortexes. Histological and microscopic analysis also revealed altered distribution of neurons and axonal nodes with concomitant elevated levels of several heavy metals. Treatment with RPW significantly elevated glutathione (GSH) level, superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase activities, as well as depleted acetylcholinesterase and malondialdehyde (MDA) level and concomitantly inhibited Nrf2 expression. It also improved neuronal integrity and reduced the levels of heavy metals in brain. Taken together, the results of this study suggest that the RPW may afford a novel neuroprotective potential against diabetic neurodegeneration.


Raffia palm wine Type 2 diabetes EDX (Energy dispersive X-ray) Neurodegeneration Nrf2 expression 



OE was supported by a competitive research grant from the Research Office, University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), Durban, South Africa. OMI acknowledges the support of the 2017 IBRO-ISN Research Fellowship, and Analytical Imaging Facility, Albert Einstein College of Medicine USA (NCI: P30CA013330; SIG: #1S10OD019961-01). MA was supported by National Institute of Health (NIH) R01 ES10563, R01 ES07331 and R01 ES020852.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors report no conflict of interest.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, School of Life SciencesUniversity of KwaZulu-Natal, (Westville Campus)DurbanSouth Africa
  2. 2.Nutrition and Toxicology DivisionFederal Institute of Industrial ResearchLagosNigeria
  3. 3.Department of Molecular PharmacologyAlbert Einstein College of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Human AnatomyFederal University of TechnologyAkureNigeria

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