Completed: 5th Herbal Seminar Series 2021 “Flavonoids and Diabetic Nephropathy”

Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD)’s Fifth Herbal Research Seminar Series 2021, hosted by the Herbal Research Group, was held online via Zoom on the 24th November 2021. Associate Professor Dr Wan Amir Nizam Wan Ahmad from the School of Health Sciences, Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), was invited as the guest speaker where he presented an illuminating lecture on “Flavonoids and Diabetic Nephropathy”.  The event attracted a total of 60 participants including staff and students from various departments and faculties of UBD, USM, Ministry of Health (MOH), Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Saleha Hospital (RIPASH), Universitas Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA), and Mangement & Science University, Malaysia.

Dr. Wan Amir started his talk with an introduction on diabetes where he highlighted its alarming rise in prevalence worldwide. He also gave an insightful explanation on the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus and diabetic nephropathy, which is the main focus of his research work. He then went on to describe the processes involved in drug discovery underlining the challenges and extensive timeline involved in the successful production of drugs.

As the focal plant species of his study, Kantan (Scientific name: Etlingera elatoir) was identified to possess high flavonoid levels, specifically anthocyanin, which was detected by thin layer chromatography (TLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). His study also showed that the plant extract could exhibit high in vitro anti-diabetic and antioxidant properties. His team has also performed in vitro and in vivo toxicity studies based on the OECD guidelines and showed that the extract was non-toxic up to 5000 mg/kg. Their in vivo animal study demonstrated that 1000 mg/kg of the aqueous extract of the plant showed efficacies similar to the positive, 250 mg/kg of Metformin, in reducing fasting blood glucose, reducing urine microalbumin, preventing body weight reduction, and improving renal functions and lipid profiles. The extract was also able to improve the histopathological damage of the renal tissues, including the glomerular basement membrane, bowman’s space, mesangial cells and matrix, tubular vacuolation and atrophy, collagen deposition and podocytes. They were also able to show that the extract could reduce the inflammatory and fibrosis markers, interleukin 6, TGF-beta and CTFG, as well as improve reactive oxygen species (ROS) markers alike metformin.

In addition to the other research projects that he and his research groups are involved with, Dr Wan Amir has also pointed out the good collaborative relationship USM has with UBD through the publication of scientific journal articles. The talk ended with a brief photo session with all the participants and was followed by a stimulating question and answer session where the audience interacted with Dr. Wan Amir through a series of questions to which Dr. Wan Amir reverted with his comments and ideas.

For the video recording of the 5th Herbal Research Seminar Series 2021, please see below: