The effects of water-extract of the seed of Garcinia kola (Henckel), a popularly consumed seed known as ‘bitter kola' in Nigeria, on the stabilities of erythrocyte membranes from HbAA, HbAS and HbSS blood donors were determined. The median corpuscular fragility (MCF) of erythrocytes from the three genotypes were 3.6 + 0.1, 3.4 + 0.1 and 2.8 + 0.2, expressed in [NaCl] g/l for HbAA, HbAS and HbSS, respectively. The aqueous extract from G. kola seeds stabilized the membranes from HbAA, HbAS and HbSS erythrocytes by 22, 17 and 25% respectively. Phenylalanine, a known anti-sickling agent, stabilized the HbSS membrane by 17.85%. Viscosity studies indicated that the HbSS blood was more viscous and the aqueous extract from G. kola seeds decreased the viscosity of the HbSS blood, producing a statistically different (p<0.5) value from that for HbAA and HbAS blood. The extract showed pronounced reversion of 2% sodium metabisulphite-induced sickling. Similar effect was observed with phenylalanine at 400 mM. These findings present support for the possible use of the aqueous extract of G. kola seeds for the management of sickle cell crisis.
Key Words: ‘bitter kola', osmotic fragility, membrane stability, erythrocyte
Global Jnl Medical Sciences Vol.2(2) 2003: 97-101