The epidermal scale melanophores of fishes are disguised type of smooth muscle cells and behave differently when exposed to certain hormones and drugs; however, their responses to plant extracts have not been studied. Chlorophytum species holds an important position in Indian herbal medicine; hence, in the present investigation, effects of extracts of two species of Chlorophytum, that is, Chlorophytum tuberosum and Chlorophytum borivilianum have been studied on the isolated scale melanophores of the teleost fish, Channa punctatus. The lyophilized extract of tubers of C. tuberosum had a melanin aggregating effect causing paling of the skin; the action seems to be mediated through alpha adrenergic receptors present dominantly on fish melanophores. On the other hand, the extract of tubers of C. borivilianumhad a melanin dispersing effect within the fish melanophores inducing darkening of the skin and the responses seem to be mediated probably through beta adrenergic receptors.
Key words: Channa punctatus, melanophore aggregation, Chlorophytum tuberosum, Chlorophytum borivilianum.
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