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Background: Moringa oleifera Lam. (Moringaceae) cultivated in South West Nigeria has been used locally in the treatment of iron deficiency anaemia, and especially in the management of sickle cell anaemia whose treatment is mainly palliative. Moringa oleifera is a nutritious vegetable and attention is now being given to such plant materials which can serve as both food and medicine in the management of sickle cell anaemia. This study therefore investigated the antisickling properties as well as the mode of action of the leaf extract of Moringa oleifera grown in South West Nigeria.
Materials and method: The anti-sickling properties of M. oleifera leaf ethanol extracts and various fractions were evaluated using nitrogen gas to induce hypoxial state in vitro. The mechanisms of action were examined using different in vitro models, which include red cell density, membrane stability, haemoglobin HbS polymerization as well as antioxidant assays at various concentrations.
Results: Moringa oleifera at 4 mg/mL caused 95.6 ± 2.47% inhibition and 79.4 ± 1.93% reversal of HbS sickling and purification of the crude extract enhanced activity. The extract showed a change in density of 14.74 ± 0.90% and a dose dependent membrane stabilizing property, which was significantly higher (p < 0.05) than the positive control. Moringa oleifera exhibited metal chelating activity and low inhibition of nitric oxide, which is important in the prevention of the onset of vaso-occlusive crisis in sickle cell patients.
Conclusion: This study therefore justifies the use of Moringa. oleifera in the management of sickle cell anaemia and therefore a candidate plant in the development of antisickling drug.
Keywords: Anti-sickling, Polymerization, Membrane stability, Red Cell density