Morphometric Study Of The Teratogenic Effect Of Artesunate On The Central Nervous System Of The Wistar Rat Foetus
AbstractThe teratogenic influence of maternal administration of artesunate on the morphometry of foetal nervous system was studied. Twenty virgin female Wistar rats weighing between 200g and 230g were used for this study. The animals were divided into 4 groups of 5 rats each. Each group was kept in a separate plastic cage. The rats were fed with commercial rat feed and tap water ad libitum throughout the experimental period. The females were caged overnight with sexually mature male rats of the same strain. The presence of sperm (tailed structures) in the vagina smears obtained the following morning confirmed coitus and the sperm positive day was designated as day zero of pregnancy. Oral doses of 0.2mg/kg, 0.4mg/kg and 0.8mg/kg body weight of artesunate were administered to pregnant rats in 3 of the groups respectively from the 7th to the 11th day of gestation. The fourth group of rats was used as the control which received 2.0ml/kg body weight of distilled water on the same days. Results show that the high dose group rats demonstrated significant (p<0.05) reduction in all parameters measured when compared to the control and the group that received 0.2mg/kg of the drug. The foetal weight, crown-rump length, tail length and brain weight were significantly (p<0.05) lower than the corresponding values in the control group. The cerebral LAPD and MAPD of the group that received 0.8mg/kg of artesunate were significantly (p<0.05) lower than corresponding values of the control group. The cerebral TD of the rats that received 0.8mg/kg of the drug was similarly lower than that of the control. The cerebellar APD and TD of the animals that received 0.8mg/kg of the drug were significantly (p<0.05) lower than those of the control. The length and transverse diameter of the spinal cord were significantly (p< 0.05) lower in the animals that received 0.8mg/kg of the drug than in the control animals. Our results suggest that high does of artesunate may cause severe intrauterine growth retardation; and may be neurotoxic to the developing nervous system of Wistar rats.
Key words: Cerebral Cortex; Cerebellum; Spinal Cord; Morphometry; Wistar Rats.
Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences Vol.19(1&2) 2004: 92-97