The safety of Kigelia africana on pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes in Sprague-Dawley rats

Stella C Gbotolorun, Isa A Suleiman, Zainab A Sogbesan, Adesina O Adebajo


Background: Kigelia africana, belongs to the family of Bignoniaceae. It has been used commonly in folk medicine to energise and improve fertility in both males and females. Decoctions of Kigelia africana are taken as abortifacients. Therefore, there is need to scientifically substantiate and validate these claims.

Objective: This study was carried out to determine the effect of Kigelia africana on pregnancy and pregnancy outcomes in Sprague-Dawley rats.

Methodology: Twenty female adult Sprague-Dawley rats divided into 4 groups (N=5) were used. Rats were mated on proestrus with males of proven fertility. Spermatocytes in the vaginal smear confirmed pregnancy. Kigelia africana was given at 100, 300 and 500 mg/kg bodyweight daily from the 1st to 20th day of pregnancy while control rats received distilled water. Rats were anaesthetized with ketamine on day 20 of pregnancy and a ventral laparotomy was performed. Foetuses were removed and parameters taken. The uterus was excised and assayed for antioxidant activities of superoxide dismutase, catalase and malondialdehyde, an index of lipid peroxidation.

Result: Significant increases were observed in crown-rump length, tail length and litter size.  Superoxide dismutase activities increased significantly while significant reductions were recorded in malondialdehyde levels. In addition, uterine weights increased in the treated groups compared with the control.

Conclusion: Kigelia africana is uterothrophic and is safe with no deleterious effect on pregnancy and the foetuses in Sprague-Dawley rats.

Keywords: Kigelia africana, pregnancy, malondialdehyde, catalase, superoxide dismutase.


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