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Maternal and Post-implantation Safety Assessment In Rats Exposed Gestationally To Polyscias Fruticosa Leaf Extract

Alex Boye, Loreta Betty Blay Mensah, Victor Yao Atsu Barku, Desmond Omane Acheampong, Ernest Amponsah Asiamah.


Background: Polyscias fruticosa (L) Harms is used as a folk medicine across Afro-Asian regions of the world. Safety of P. fruticosa use in pregnancy remains completely unknown despite its extensive usage. Objective: The study assessed maternal and post-implantation loss in pregnant rats gestationally exposed to P. fruticosa leaf extract (PFE). Methods: Healthy female Wistar rats were co-habited (female: male; 6:2) with healthy fertile males. Confirmed pregnant rats were randomly re-assigned to normal saline (control, 5 ml/kg po], Folic acid (5 mg/kg po), and PFE (100, 200 and 500 mg/kg po) and treated once daily for 15 gestational days. Maternal toxicity was assessed by cage-side observations, feed consumption, weight loss, relative organ/bodyweight ratio, biochemical assessment of liver and kidney function, morbidity and death. Embryotoxicity was assessed by gross embryo assessment, embryo resorption, and brain/spinal cord histology.
Results: Two dams died from PFE (500 mg/kg) group. Feeding decreased across all groups as gestation progressed. No weight loss across all groups. AST increased in PFE (200 and 500 mg/kg) relative to control. ALP decreased (P ≤ 0.05) in PFE compared to control. Direct bilirubin increased in PFE groups relative to control. Urea decreased in PFE groups relative to control. Creatinine decreased in PFE (100 mg/kg) relative to control but increased in PFE (500 mg) compared to control. Post-implantation loss increased in PFE (500 mg/kg) relative to control. Conclusion: Gestational exposure to PFE (> 100 mg/kg) produced risk of post-implantation loss and renal injury in dams; therefore PFE should be avoided in pregnancy.

Key words: Gestational Exposure, Herbal medicine, maternal toxicity, Post-implantation loss, Polyscias fruticosa

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