Oral Supplementation with Aqueous Leaf Extract of Ficus Carica Improved Some Haematological Parameters, reduces Osmotic Fragility and Oxidative Damage to Red Blood Cells caused by Plasmodium Berghei in Mice
Background: Malaria-infected red blood cells are under oxidative stress. Glutathione metabolism may play a vital role in the antioxidant defence of these cells as it does in other cells in the body. Several organic and inorganic substances that can promote the metabolism of glutathione will be able to promote the antioxidant potentials and also reduce the oxidative stress on the red blood cells. Thus, several medicinal plants with potential antioxidant values are usually employed locally in the treatment of malaria. This work had tried to measure the reduced glutathione (GSH) level in Plasmodium berghei infected mice treated with 200 mg of aqueous leaf extract of Ficus carica (fig tree leaf) and compare the results with that of parasite free mice and Plasmodium berghei-infected untreated mice. The work also evaluated the erythropoietin–like activities of the extract as well as other effects on other blood cells. Methods: The Albino mice used were divided into control, normal treated, Plasmodium berghei infected treated and Plasmodium berghei infected untreated mice with 5 mice per group. The extract treated groups were force fed with aqueous leaf extract of Ficus carica at a dose of 200 mg/kg body weight for a period of 8days, while the control received equal volume of distilled water. Weights of all animals were monitored while blood samples were collected from the mice via the tail vein as well as retro orbital sinus (under light anaesthesia) at the end of the experiment for packed cell volume, red blood cell, white blood cell, haemoglobin, fragility test and reduced glutathione ‘GR’ analysis. Phytochemistry of the plant was also carried out Results: The LD50 result for the leaf extract was 3.36 ± 0.26g /kg body weight. The extract also contains flavonoids. There was a significant increase in red blood cell count, PCV and platelet count in mice treated with aqueous leaf extract of Ficus carica while the red cell membrane fragility was significantly reduced along with an increase in the plasma level of reduced glutathione. Conclusion: Oral supplementation with aqueous leaf extract of Ficus carica causes increase in red blood cell count, pcv, and platelet count while reducing the red blood cell fragility induced by oxidative stress as a result of plasmodium berghei in mice.
KEY WORDS: Ficus carica, Haematological indices, LD50, Glutathione reductase, Plasmodium berghei.