Effect of Acute and Chronic Treatment of the 80% Ethanolic Fruit Extract of Embelia schimperi on Blood, Liver and Kidney of Rats
Embelia schimperi Vatke is traditionally used for its medicinal value in many parts of the world including Ethiopia. It has been used for the treatment of intestinal parasites especially tapeworm infestations for centuries in Ethiopia. However, there are limited published reports about the chronic toxicity of this plant. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of chronic treatment of the 80% ethanolic extract of dried fruits of E. schimperi in rats. The fruits of the plant were collected from Bahir Dar area, north-western Ethiopia; dried, crushed into powder and percolated in 80% ethanol. The percolate was concentrated in a vacuum rotary evaporator to remove the organic solvent. The remaining aqueous solution was placed in an oven at a temperature not exceeding 40 oC to remove the remaining water. The residue was then washed with petroleum ether until the washings were colourless. The final dried mass was weighed, packed in a sample bottle and stored at –4 oC until it was used. The extract was then orally administered to rats at doses of 400 and 1600 mg/kg/day for 24 weeks. Initial and final body weights and absolute weight of liver and kidney were recorded. Blood samples were collected for the analysis of haematological and biochemical parameters. The animals were then sacrificed and dissected carefully to collect the liver and kidney for histopathological studies. The hydroalcoholic fruit extract of E. schimperi at doses of 400 and 1600 mg/kg was not significantly associated with body weight change and relative organ weights of liver and kidney. Out of all the haematological and biochemical parameters determined, only platelets and AST concentration were significantly increased with treatment of the hydroalcoholic fruit extract. The histopathological findings showed liver and kidney tissue inflammations in treated groups. Moreover, considerable inflammatory cells were observed in kidney sections of rats treated with 1600 mg/kg as compared to controls. Results of the current study clearly showed that chronic treatment with 80% ethanolic fruit extract of E. schimperi did not result in toxicity in the rat. However, the significant changes observed in platelets count and AST concentrations suggest that the plant extract might have mild toxicity as indicated by inflammatory cells observed in kidney sections.
Keywords: Embelia schimperi, 80% ethanolic fruit extract, acute toxicity, chronic toxicity, rats.