The objectives of this study were to investigate quantitative alterations in leukocytes and immunosuppressive effects of ginger rhizome associated with oral administration of Azathioprine (AZA) on guinea pig model. This study was carried out at the Al Jouf University during the period from March to April 2013. A total of twelve guinea pigs randomly divided into three groups (four guinea pigs each) were used in this study. Group I, received daily oral administration of 50 mg/kg body weight of AZA in combination with 50 mg/ml of ginger rhizome extract for five days; Group II was treated with 50 mg AZA daily for five days, while Group III was used as a control group. Hematological alterations associated with ginger rhizome and AZA were measured using standard hematological and data analysis techniques. Ginger rhizome in combination with AZA was found to enhance the reduction in the lymph (%) compared to AZA treatment (P < 0.05). Lymphocyte was significantly lower in group II (AZA) and group I (AZA + ginger) (P < 0.05), 13 and 18%, respectively than the control group, 38%. This may be due to either inhibition in one of the lymphopoiesis growth factors or shortening the life span of lymphocytic cells by the action of AZA. The results of the present study indicated an immune suppressive effect of ginger rhizome extract associated with immunosuppressive agent (AZA) with mainly lymphocytopenia. The current findings suggest that ginger may have a role in either the stimulation of lymphopoiesis or discontinue the effect of AZA, as the percentage of lymphocytes was significantly higher in group II versus group I after mixing up AZA + ginger. Accordingly, further studies would be useful to estimate lymphocytic growth factors to know the relationship between ginger, AZA and lymphopoiesis.
Key words: Azathioprine, ginger rhizome, blood cell counting, hematological alterations.
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