Gongronema latifolium is a highly valued plant of great socio-economic importance because of its several nutritional, pharmacological and industrial applications. The aqueous extract from the leaves of Gongronema latifolium, was evaluated for its organ toxidity by oral route of administration and to determine if its effect of the extract is dose and time dependent. Twenty four adults albino rats of about 8 weeks old weighing between 200g – 260g were used. The rats were divided into four groups A-D, they were administered orally with the leaf extract for 21 days. Does of 1000mg/kg, 2000mg/kg and 3000mg/kg was given S to groups A,B and C respectively. At the end of the 3 weeks, the rats from each group were weighed. The group D served as the control and received no treatment, they were fed with standard top feed and water ad libitum. Tissues collected after the experiment was immediately prepared histologiocally for haepmotoxylin and cosin stain. The stained section were observed under the microscope using x40 and x10 objective lens. From the results obtained, if shows that there were no significant changes in all the organ examined. The study concluded that Gongronema latifolium leaf extract has no organ toxidity, it is not time or dose dependent within 9 dose of 4000mg.kg and it is relatively safe for consumption.
Gongronema latifolium, commonly called ‘Utazi’ and ‘Arokeke’ in the south Western and South Eastern parts of Nigeria, is a tropical rainforest plant primarily used as spice and vegetable in traditional folk medicine (Ugochukwu and Babady, 2002; Ugochukwu et al., 2003).
The leafy Utazi are those herbaceous plants whose part or parts are eaten as supporting food or main dishes and they may be aromatic, bitter or tasteless. The utilization of Utazi leaf is part of African’s cultural heritage and they play important roles in the customs, tradition and food culture of the Africa household. Nigeria is endowed with a variety of traditional vegetables and different types are consumed by the various ethnic groups for different reasons (Edemg, 1987).
Report by various authors showed that it contains essential oils, saponins and pregnanes among others (Schneider and Morebise et al; 2002. Ogudipe et al., (2003) reported that aqueous and ethanolic G. latifolium extracts had hypoglycemic, hypolidemic and anti-oxidative properties while morebise et al; (2002) showed that it has anti-inflammatory properties.
The leafy utazi available in the field and markets as well as the frequency cause common name Bush buck in Edo State, Nigeria, frequency 26, usage (%) 5.8, family: Aselepiadaceace. The use of utazi is for the preparation of soup cut across different culture within Nigeria and other parts of West Africa with similar culture and socio-economic background. For example Gongronema latifolium is commonly consumed in Southern Ghana (Blay, 2004).
The phytochemical screening of the leaf revealed the presence of fatty acid, vitamin C, carotenoid, selected mineral elements like Fe, Cu, Zn, Co and amino acid, flavonoids, tannin, saponin, alkaloids and anthraquinone (Latunde Data, 2006).
Animal and human studies have showcased the Gongronema latifolium posses wide spectrum of pharmacological effects of antitumor, antipyretic, anti-pasmodic, anti inflammatory, diuretic, antiulcer, hypotensive, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, hepatoprotective, antibacterial and anti-fungal activities (Sudng et al; 2010).
The liver and kidney are principal organs of the body deeply involved in the drug transformation, excretion of products of body metabolism, drugs and chemicals (Okolie, 2011). There could be damage to the liver and kidney following administration of leaf extract of Gongronema latifolium especially when there is no scientific data to evaluate the standard and suitability of the practice done by the traditional medical practitioners.
Consequently, there is an urgent need to determine the effect of the leaf extract of gongronema latifolium on the liver and kidney in this our local setting since the chemical composition of the leaf extract has been known to vary according to geographical location.
The present study is tailored to assess the effects of Gongronema latifolium on the histological components of the liver and kidney of albino rat. There is the need for sustenance, reproducibility or otherwise findings in this area in our locality. This is with the view of educating and guiding the traditional herbal patronizers and other users on the safety of the plant and better scientific approach in using them.
- STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Health problems and man quest for nutrient have driven many people to the use of supplements. These supplements are mostly imported and are very costly and unaffordable by majority of the people. However, Nigeria is blessed with many plants that have medicinal and nutritional properties. The medicinal properties of these plants are associated with phytochemicals present in them. Gongronema latifolium is a type of vegetable which is mainly used as traditional medicine and in traditional diets. The extent to which the extracts of Gongronema latifolium affects the liver and kidney have not really been investigated.
1.2 RESEARCH JUSTIFICATION
Man is constantly at war with sickness and diseases in his environment, greater number of which is treated using crude medicinal herbs which can pose serious health threat if not well handled or standardized (Oze, 2011). The liver and kidney are major organs that play key role in biotransformation of drugs, excretion of product of body metabolism, drugs and chemicals (Okolie, 2011).
Also, the chemical composition of plant extracts differs distinctly according to the geographical locations (Gotep et al; 2010).
Reasonable data exist concerning the phytochemical and pharmacological activities of the plant, even histological parameter of the liver and kidney of animal treated with the leaf extract of Gongronema Latifolium in other locality of the world (Rathi et al; 2006; and Sudha et al; 2010). But there is scanty research information on the effects of the leaf extract on the liver and kidney here in our locality. The study therefore evaluates the effects of Gongronema latifolium on the histology of liver and kidney of albino rat.
1.3 SCOPE OF WORK
The research work will be tailored to assess the histology of the liver and kidney of an albino rat when fed with the leaf extract of Gongronema latifolium, obtained from Owerri, Imo State. The pharmacological application of this leaf extract on organ such as the liver and kidney would be investigated in the cause of this study, while other applications of this plant such as industrial and traditional aspects would be streamlined only to the literature of this work.
To evaluate the histomorphology of the liver and kidney treated with aqueous leaf extract of gongronema latifolium grown in Owerri, Imo State.
1.5 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES
- To evaluate the organ toxicity of the liver and kidney of albino rats fed with aqueous leaf extract of gongronema lafifolium grown in Owerri, Imo State.
- To determine if the lesion caused by the intake of the aqueous leaf extract is both dose and time dependent.
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