Therapeutic potential of Opuntia ficus indica extract against cadmium-induced osteoporosis and DNA bone damage in male rats


  • Jihen Taleb Laboratory of Active Biomolecules Valorisation, Higher Institute of Applied Biology of Medenine, University of Gabes, 4119 Medenine, Tunisia & Research Unit of Macromolecular Biochemistry and Genetics, 2100, Gafsa, Tunisia.
  • Saida Ncibi Research Unit of Macromolecular Biochemistry and Genetics, 2100, Gafsa, Tunisia. & Faculty of Science, Jazan University, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
  • Intidhar Bkhairia Laboratory of Enzyme Engineering and Microbiology, University of Sfax, National School of Engineering of Sfax (ENIS), B.P. 1173-3038 Sfax, Tunisia.
  • Amani Smida Laboratory of Active Biomolecules Valorisation, Higher Institute of Applied Biology of Medenine, University of Gabes, 4119 Medenine, Tunisia & Research Unit of Macromolecular Biochemistry and Genetics, 2100, Gafsa, Tunisia.
  • Lamia Mabrouki Laboratory of Active Biomolecules Valorisation, Higher Institute of Applied Biology of Medenine, University of Gabes, 4119 Medenine, Tunisia & Research Unit of Macromolecular Biochemistry and Genetics, 2100, Gafsa, Tunisia.
  • Moncef Nasri Laboratory of Enzyme Engineering and Microbiology, University of Sfax, National School of Engineering of Sfax (ENIS), B.P. 1173-3038 Sfax, Tunisia.
  • Lazhar Zourgui Laboratory of Active Biomolecules Valorisation, Higher Institute of Applied Biology of Medenine, University of Gabes, 4119 Medenine, Tunisia.


cadmium, ‘Opuntia ficus indica’, osteoporosis, oxidative stress, DNA damage


The purpose of the present study was to assess the protective effects of ‘Opuntia ficus indica’ (family Cactaceae) against osteoporosis induced by cadmium chloride in female Wistar rats. Experiments were carried out on 36 male Wistar rats (6-8 weeks old) divided into four groups of nine each: a control group, a group treated with cadmium (3,5 mg/kg /day) by subcutaneous injection, a group treated with Opuntia ficus indica extract (100 mg/Kg/day) by gavage, and a group treated with opuntia extract then treated with cadmium. After 10 weeks of treatment, animals from each group were rapidly sacri?ced by decapitation. Blood serum was obtained by centrifugation. Bone toxicity was estimated by examining femoral length and weight, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin D3 and alkaline phsphatase (ALP) levels, oxidative status and DNA aspects in femur tissue. Results showed that cadmium could induce hypocalcemia, hypophosphatemia, Vit D deficiency, increase in ALP level, and decrease in femur weight and length. Also, an oxidative stress evidenced by statistically signi?cant losses in the activities of catalase (CAT), superoxide-dismutase (SOD), glutathione-peroxidase (GPX) activities and an increase in lipids peroxidation level in bone tissue of cadmium-treated group compared with the control group. In addition, histological analysis in bone tissue of cadmium-induced rats revealed pronounced morphological alterations with areas of bone resorption and a loss of normal architecture of femur diaphysis bone as well as DNA fragmentation. However, administration of cactus extract attenuated cadmium-induced bone damage. The protective effect of the plant can be attributed to its antioxidant properties and the existence of phenolic acids and flavonoids, as highlighted by HPLC-based analysis. These findings indicate that ‘Opuntia ficus indica’ extract, can be used as a new option in nutraceutical field.


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How to Cite

Taleb, J., Ncibi, S., Bkhairia, I., Smida, A., Mabrouki, L., Nasri, M., & Zourgui, L. (2022). Therapeutic potential of Opuntia ficus indica extract against cadmium-induced osteoporosis and DNA bone damage in male rats. Journal of Tropical Pharmacy and Chemistry, 6(1), 1–14. Retrieved from