Oze G., Onyeze G.O. Ojiako O., Abanobi S., Ozims S., Ohiri Alison
Alstonia boonei (Ab) is a deciduous plant used in Nigeria for the treatment of various ailments. It is reputed in traditional medicine to have anti-malarial, antipyretic, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Many anti-malarial and antibiotic agents have been reported to have anti-fertility actions. For instance, the anti-fertility action of quinine and chloroquine has been documented. Studies have proven the anti-fertility effect of Ab in male rats. The effect of Ab on the reproductive parameters of female rats attracted our research attention. The concentration of female sex hormone may vary significantly depending on the menstrual phase, and this affects female reproductive function. The aim of this research is to investigate the effect of Alstonia boonei stem bark extract on the serum estrogen and progesterone concentrations in mature non-pregnant female rats. We adapted the method of Skibola et al., (2004), Forty rats, weighing 100-150g were randomly allocated to eight experimental groups of 5 rats each. Group 1 was given 0.5ml/kg normal saline and served as the control. Groups 2, 3, and 4 received 50, 100, and 200mg/kg of the extract daily for 2 weeks respectively. The doses were repeated for groups 5, 6, 7, and 8 for 4 weeks respectively. All drug administration was by oral intubation. At the end of the respective periods, the rats were sacrificed under chloroform anaesthesia. The serum concentrations of the hormones were determined using Eleesys auto analyzer (model 1010, Roche, Mannheinn, Germany). The histology of the uterine cells was studied using the method adopted by John et al., (1990). The plant extract elevated the serum concentrations of estrogen and progesterone at higher doses and longer periods (p>0.05). The serum hormonal increase by the 2nd and 4th weeks, and at 50mg/kg were not significant (p<0.05). The results indicated that treatment with Ab stem bark extract on female rats increased the serum concentration of female sex hormones. This effect is more prominent in the group with higher dosage, and persisted with prolonged administration. We conclude that the extract has possible stimulant effect on female estrogen and progesterone. It may be useful for female contraception (knowing that sustained increase in blood progesterone and estrogen inhibits ovulation). Further, Ab extract should not be administered repeatedly or in high doses when fertility is desired.
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