Document Type: Original Article
Pharmacology and Toxicology Dept., Faculty of Pharmacy, Gombe University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
Pharmacology and Toxicology Dept., Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, Uyo, Nigeria
Pharmacology Dept., Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Port Harcort, Rivers State, Nigeria
Background and aims: Homalium letestui Pellegr (Flacourtiaceae) is used traditionally by the Yorubas of Western Nigeria as an antidote and by the Ibibios of Southern Nigeria to treat stomach ulcer, malaria and other inflammatory diseases. The aim of this study is to determine the hepatoprotective effects of ethanol extract of H. letestui stem (250-750 mg/kg) on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver injury in rats.
Methods: A total of 36 rats were divided into six groups of 6 animals each. Group 1 was administered with normal saline (10 ml/kg) for eight days, group 2 received CCl4, group 3 served as the standard group, while groups 4, 5 and 6 were administered p.o with 250, 500 and 750 mg/kg of H. letestui stem extract, respectively, for 8 days. Liver function and histopathological parameters were investigatesd to assess hepatoprotective activity of the extract.
Results: Administration of the stem extract (250-750 mg/kg body weight) caused significant (P<0.05 – 0.001) reductions in levels of liver enzymes (ALT, AST and ALP), total cholesterol, direct and total bilirubin and elevation of serum levels of total protein and albumin. Optimal effects on most parameters were observed at 500 mg/kg dose. The effects of the extract/fraction were comparable to that of the standard drug used. Thus, the local use of this plant, at appropriate doses, as an antidote could be supported.
Conclusions: The plant may provide protection against substances that react with membrane lipids to induce peroxidation and subsequent dysfunction of membranes by acting as an effective scavenger of reactive oxygen species. This positive effect may be similar to the established effects of certain substances such as silymarin, vitamin E, vitamin C and other free radical scavengers that reduce the toxic effects of CCl4, especially on the liver.