Background: Bitter Melon (BM) is known for its hypoglycemic effect and is commonly used in populations.
Objectives: This study examined the effects and safety of bitter melon fruit in laboratory mice.
Materials and Methods: In this experimental study 70 male mice (25-30 gr) were randomly divided into 7 groups. The mice were injected intraperitoneally with single doses of 0, 100, 500, 1000, 2000 and 4000 mg/kg and multiple doses 500 mg/kg daily for 7 days. The mice were then observed for 72 hours before sacrificing. Immediately kidneys were taken out for histological examinations. Tubular cell vacuolization and flattening as well as hyaline casts, debris and dilatation of tubular lumen were the morphologic lesions which were assessed with scores from 0 to 4, while zero score addressed normal renal tissue. Serum samples were assayed for kidney function (creatinine; Cr and Blood Urea Nitrogen; BUN). Blood and bitter melon antioxidant activities were measured, too. Data were analyzed with Stata software (Stata Corp. 2011. Stata Statistical Software: Release 12. College Station, TX: Stata Corp LP) using ANOVA and Bonferroni tests.
Results: All single dose groups showed normal behavior after the dosing and no statistical changes were observed in blood parameters (p>0.05). Histological examinations revealed normal organ structures, however, the group treated for 7 days showed statistically a significant change in BUN (p=0.002) and a borderline significance in Cr (p=0.051).
Conclusions: Administration of up to 4000 mg/kg did not have any effect on the mice kidney function and histology, however chronic administration were nephrotoxic. More studies with different dosage regimens are suggested.