The aim of the present study was to scientifically investigate whether Trichosanthes cucumerina Linn (Family: Cucurbitaceae) has gastroprotective activity.
All the experiments were conducted using Wistar strain rats (weight: 200-220 g). The food and water given to rats was withdrawn for 36 and 12h respectively, before the commencement of the experiment. These rats were randomly divided into 6 groups (n=8 rats/group; 4 males+4 females) and groups 1-3 were orally administrated with hot water extract (HWE) at a dose of 375, 500 and 750 mg/kg, respectively. Group 4 was orally treated with equal volume of distilled water (1 mL; control), group 5 was orally treated with a reference drug, cimetidine (100mg/kg) while the group 6 was orally treated with another reference drug, sucralfate (400mg/kg). In the indomethacin experiment, only one dose of HWE (750 mg/kg) was tested, as this was found to have the maximum effect in the alcohol model also.
Results show that the HWE of Trichosanthes cucumerina possesses significant (P<or=0.05) and dose dependent gastroprotective effects in the alcohol model in terms of the length and number of gastric lesions mediated by alcohol, with a maximum effect at 750 mg/kg (inhibition of lesion length by 92%; number of gastric lesions by 88%). The same dose also mediated a significant (P<or=0.05) gastroprotective activity in the indomethacine model (inhibition of lesion length by 88%; number of gastric lesions by 84%). In both models, the protective effect demonstrated by the HWE was comparable with that produced by cimetidine. The HWE significantly (P<or=0.05) increased the amount of mucus produced by the rat gastro mucosa (by 39%) and reduced the gastric acidity (total acidity by 36%; free acidity by 40%). pH of the gastric juice increased from 4.1 to 6.0. However, no change in the volume of gastric juice was observed. Further, HWE showed potent antihistamine activity.
It may be concluded that HWE of Trichosanthes cucumerina exerts a significant protection against ethanol or indomethacin induced gastric damage. Increasing the protective mucus layer, decreasing the acidity of the gastric juice and antihistamine activity are probable mechanisms by which the HWE of Trichosanthes cucumerina mediates its gastroprotective actions.