Effect of acidified alcohol extract of Funtumia Africana (Family Apocynaceae) of some reproductive processes of Albino rats

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The acidified alcohol extract of F. africana, Benth (Apocynaceae) was evaluated for its pharmacological potential using brine shrimp cytotoxicity bioassay, its hormonal profile, and its uterine stimulant activity. It was then administered rectally, intravaginally and orally to pregnant and non-pregnant albino rats to evaluate its effects on prenatal and postnatal reproduction variables. The extract was cytotoxic to brine shrimps with an LC50 of 101.4μg/ml indicating a significant potential for pharmacological uses. Oral doses of 450, 900, and 1800 mg/kg body weight for 7 days showed no androgenic or antiandrogenic effects with respect to the relative weight of seminal vesicies and anterior prostate gland. However, the highest dose of 1800 mg/kg body weight was anti-androgenic with respect to the anabolic actions of androgens when administered to castrated rats treated with or without testosterone as it caused significantly lower relative weight of the levator ani muscle. At the oral doses of 450 - 1800 mg/kg body weight, F. africana extract was antiestrogenic when administered to ovariectomised rats which were also treated with or without stilboestrol. An oral dose of 900 mg/kg body weight administered to immature intact female rats had antigonadotropic effect and caused significantly lower relative weight of ovaries. Ten to 80 mg/ml of F. africana extract caused a significant relaxation of uterine muscle and antagonised the contractile effect of acetyicholine on rat uterus. Doses of 300, 600, and 1200 mg/kg body weight administered for 10 days before and after coitus did not cause a significant change in oestrous cycle and early prenatal parameters such as ovulation rate, implantation rate and early resorptions. Again, there were no significant changes in postnatal parameters such as survival of pups up to weaning, growth rates and physical signs of development (notably, the rate of incisor eruption, hair appearance, and eyelid opening) . The higher doses however caused significant increases in late resorption rates, lower foetal numbers, and lower increases in pregnant dam weights. These significant effects on maternal and foetal parameters appear to be due mainly to the estrogenicity of F. africana extract and a potential to redress gynaecological disorders is indicated.
A thesis submitted to the Board of Postgraduate Studies, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi, in partial fulfilment of the requirement for the award of Master of Science degree in Reproductive Biology, 2000