P. E. Dabor*, C. Obiandu and H. O. Asuzu-Samuel


Introduction: The use of Catharanthus roseus in the treatment of some illnesses in traditional medicine practice is common. Its use in the treatment of co-existing conditions in pregnancy is common but its effects on pregnancy is largely controversial. Aim: The aim of this study is to evaluate the effect of methanol leaf extract of Catharanthus roseus on some reproductive parameters, weight of fetus and pregnancy outcome in female wistar rats. Method: Twenty five (25) pregnant wistar rats were used in this study. They were initially cohabited with males until pregnancy was achieved. Animals were divided into five (5) groups. Group 1 served as control. Groups 2, 3, 4 and 5 were orally administered (125, 250,500 and 1000) mg/kg body weight of Catharanthus roseus extract respectively, from day 7th to 16th of pregnancy. Animals were sacrificed on 17th day of pregnancy. Blood was collected by cardiac puncture for hormone analysis. Results: The results revealed that the serum levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) and estrogen were significantly (P<0.05) decreased compared to control group. However, a significant increase in prolactin level was observed. Furthermore, there was a significant (P<0.05) loss in maternal body weight. A similar reduction also occurred in the weight of fetus. A significant increase in percentage of dead fetus was observed in animals that took higher doses (up to 500mg/kg) of the extract. Conclusion: This study showed that methanol leaf extract of Catharanthus roseus may possess abortifacient potentials and may increase fetal loss.

Keywords: Catharanthus roseus, pregnant wistar rats, abortifacient, methanol.

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