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<i>Azadirachta indica</i> seed extract caused detrimental pregnancy outcomes and haematological effects in adult female albino rats

Ugochinyere Juliet Njoga
Chike Fidelis Oguejiofor
Izuchukwu Shedrack Ochiogu


Traditional use of Azadirachta indica in Asian countries suggests that the plant may have antifertility properties but in Nigeria, A. indica is fed to animals and used for traditional treatment of human and animal illnesses. This study therefore determined the reproductive and haematological effects of methanolic seed extract of A. indica (MSEAI), using adult female albino rats (AFAR) as experimental model. Sixty-four AFAR randomly assigned into four treatment groups (A – D) of 16 rats each were used. Group A was the control, while groups B, C and D received 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg doses of the extract daily for 28 consecutive days. Blood samples were collected on days 0 (base line), 14 and 28 to assay for haematological parameters. Thereafter, the rats were bred and fertility tests performed. Results showed that MSEAI significantly decreased (p≤0.05) haemoglobin concentration, packed cell volume and red blood cell count in treated groups on day 28. Total and differential leukocyte counts showed no significant variations (p>0.05). The extract also caused abortion and fetal resorption especially in high dose (100 and 200 mg/kg) treatment groups. However, in rats that had successful parturition, gestation length, litter size, litter weight, number of corpora lutea, number of implantation sites and number of fetuses born alive were not significantly affected (p>0.05). Considering the adverse haematological and reproductive effects, feeding A. indica as forage or the traditional treatment in pregnant/breeding females could be counterproductive. However, the extract could find application as a contraceptive in nonbreeding females and in rodent depopulation programme.

Keywords: Azadirachta indica seed  extract, Forage, Haematological parameters, Reproductive parameters, Female albino rats