Reproductive studies and safety assessment of an ethanolic seed extract of picralima nitida ((stapf) th. &h. durand)

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March 2015
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Almost all parts of Picralima nitida are widely used in Ghana and other West African countries for the treatment of various ailments, including diabetes, malaria, stomach problems, pneumonia, jaundice, measles, cough, typhoid fever and gonorrhea. Captured in the population patronizing the plant product are men and women of child bearing age. Womenare susceptible to disorders during pregnancy and sometimes require treatment to protect themselves and theirdeveloping fetus. The Thalidomide catastrophe sparked the focus into reproductive studies to ensure that xenobiotics are not toxic to both parents and unborn child.The effect of the ethanolic seed extract of Picralima nitida on reproduction in both males and females and its safety for use was,therefore, investigated in mice and chicks. The effect ofthe extract on reproductive indices in female mice was studied after pretreatment with 30 – 300 mg/kg orally for fourteen days prior to mating. Possible alterations in estrous cycle or hormonal imbalance after ingestion of the extract was also studied.The chick uterotrophic assay to assess the estrogenic effect of the extract was conducted after seven-day treatment of chicks with 30-300 mg/kg of extract. The number of mounts, sniffing and licking of female, genital and non-genital grooming in an orientation behaviour test to study the aphrodisiac potential of the Picralima nitida extract in male mice when treated with the extract was also conducted. Androgenic effect of the extract was also assessed by studying comb growth in White Leghorn chicksafter a six-day treatment with 50-500 mg/kg. The safety for use of the extract was also assessed. Results indicated that mating index and gestation period were not affected. At a dose of 300 mg/kg female fertility decrease from 100 % to 25%.Litter size wasmoderately reduced with increasing doses. Daily administration of the extract to female rats prolongedsignificantly(p<0.001) the duration of estrous at a dose of 300 mg/kg.The extract showed estrogenic effect as there was significant (p<0.01) increase in uterus weight to body ratio.The extract caused a significant boost in attempted mounts(p<0.001), sniffing and licking of female(p<0.05), genital and non-genital grooming(p<0.05)at a dose of 300 mg/kg. There was however no significant (p>0.05) changes in the above parameters upon continuous administration of the extract for 14 days. Although sperm numbers diminished significantly (p<0.001) especially at a dose of 300 mg/kg, sperm motility, viability and morphology remained unchanged.The extract caused a significant (p<0.01) dose dependent increase in comb growth, similar to, Testosterone propionate. However, the extract antagonized the effects of testosterone when administered together.Safety studies revealed insignificant (p>0.05) changes in haematological and biochemical parameters, making the extract safe up to the doses used.Per the findings the ethanol seed extract of Picralima nitidahas antifertility effects in females and enhances sexual ability in males.It could be detrimental to females who have plans of conception whilst using the extract to treat a particular ailment but inure to the benefit of others who desire contraception. In males, the extract could be used as an aphrodisiac.
A thesis submitted in fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Philosophy In the Department of Pharmacology, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, 2015