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Cytogenetic assessment of the aerial extract of <i>Oldenlandia corymbosa</i> L. (Rubiaceae) used in the management of cancer

F.E. Nkemehule
J. I. Odimegwu
H.C. Iwuagwu
R.A. Lawal


Cancer remains a pressing global health challenge, with millions of new cases reported annually. Oldenlandia corymbosa L. (Rubiaceae) has rich ethnomedicinal history in the treatment of various ailments. It is one of the plants used in traditional medicine for the management of cancer in Nigeria. This study aimed to assess the cytotoxic and cytogenetic potential of O. corymbosa ethanolic aerial extract (OCEE) using Allium cepa assay. The root tips of A. cepa were treated with OCEE at 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 mg/ml for 48 hours and distilled water was used as the control. After 48 hours exposure period, cytotoxicity potential of OCEE was determined by measuring the mean length of A. cepa root compared to the control. Anti-proliferative activity of the extract was assessed by calculating the mitotic index. Cytogenetic effect of OCEE was assessed by cytological examination A cepa meristematic cells for chromosomal aberrations. The result showed a significant (p<0.05) decrease in the mean length of A. cepa root treated with OCEE (EC50 4.11 mg/ml). The mitotic index (MI) significantly reduced (p<0.05) in the lower doses, with the lowest at 1mg/ml concentration (MI = 8.50) compared to the control (MI = 9.40). The extract elicited chromosomal aberrations in all the treated groups, indicative of mutagenic and cytogenetic potential. Findings from this study showed that OCEE exerted cytotoxic, anti-proliferative and cytogenetic effect eliciting chromosomal aberrations in A. cepa root meristematic cells. The study provides insight on the use of OCEE in ethnomedicine for the management of cancer. Further research should elucidate the mechanism of action and the bioactive compounds.

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eISSN: 1596-8499