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The authors report here the results of study on Parkia biglobosa seeds used in Burkina Faso for arterial hypertension treatment. Investigations were done on acute toxicity and vascular properties of fermented and roasted seeds. Acute toxicity test using mice, revealed by the intraperitoneal route a lethal dose 50 (LD50) of 1800 mg/kg and 1600 mg/kg of body weight for aqueous extract from roasted and fermented seeds respectively. According to the scale of Hodge and Sterner and that of the World Health Organization, such drugs would be classified lightly toxic. Oral administration (up to 3000 mg/kg) did not induce any death of animal. For the vascular properties, the effects of these products were tested on the aorta isolated from rats. The cumulative administration of extract from roasted and fermented seeds (0.1-10 mg/mL) in an organ bath induced a concentration-dependent relaxation of the aorta pre contracted by phenylephrine, with or without functional endothelium. The extracts (10 mg/mL) inhibited for 100% the contraction induced by phenylephrine. The EC50 values in presence and absence of endothelium were respectively of 5.37 ± 0.12 and 4.19 ± 1.02 mg/mL for fermented seeds; for roasted seeds these values were respectively, 5.39 ± 1.12 and 5.93 ± 0.95 mg/mL. Nevertheless, low concentration of roasted seeds (1-4 mg/mL) induced endothelium-dependent relaxation and this effect was inhibited by indomethacin (10-5M), and not by L-NAME (310-4M). These experimental results revealed a vasorelaxant effect of P. biglobosa seeds. P. biglobosa seems to act directly on the smooth muscle and via endothelium involving the generation of vasodilatating prostaglandins. This vasodilator effect would be in favor of an anti hypertensive property of P. biglobosa seeds.
Key words: Acute toxicity; vasodilator; endothelium; Parkia biglobosa.