Effect of inutero exposure to an aqueous extract of hibicus sabdariffa on offspring's postnatal growth in Sprague-Dawley rats

  • EE Iyare Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus, Nigeria
  • FE Iyare Department of Pathology, Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki, Nigeria


In folk medicine, extracts of Hibiscus Sabdariffa (HS) are used in the treatment of several complaints including high blood pressure, liver diseases and fever. To the best of our knowledge, no documented evidence exists on the effect of inutero exposure to an aqueous extract of HS on postnatal growth. The purpose of the present study, therefore, was to investigate this. Three groups of pregnant rats were used for this study. Group C had tap water while groups A and B had 0.6g and 1.8g HS extract respectively in 100ml tap water to drink throughout pregnancy. All groups had normal rat chow ad libitum. On the day of birth, birth weights were recorded and two pups each from dams in groups A and B were substituted for 4 pups from dams in group C such that dams in group C had two pups each from groups A and B and at least two pups from its own litters to nurse. Thereafter, weights were recorded at 10days, 14days, 20days and 34 days postpartum. Results of the present study show a statistically significant (p<0.05) growth reduction in groups A and B pups (exposed group) compared with group C (unexposed group) at 10 days through 20 days postpartum with no statistically significant growth reduction at 34 days postpartum. We conclude that inutero exposure to an aqueous extract of HS attenuates early postnatal growth in SD rats with a possible “catch-up” growth later in life.

Keywords: inutero exposure, hibiscus sabdariffa, postnatal growth

Nigerian Journal of Health and Biomedical Sciences Vol. 5(1) 2006: 27-30

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eISSN: 1595-8272