The study evaluates the in vivo antiplasmodial activity of ethanol leaf extract and fractions of Jatropha gossypifolia in Plasmodium berghei infected mice. Phytochemical, physicochemical analyses, median lethal dose (LD50), effects on biochemical parameter were evaluated and the schizonticidal effects during early and established infections were investigated. The extract (50-200 mg/kg) was screened for antimalarial prophylactic and curative activities against 50 (20-30 g) P. berghei infected mice using standard method. The prophylactic and curative activity tests were repeated for the fractions of the extract. The phytochemical analysis done on J. gossypifolia leaves showed presence of tannins, saponins, phlobatannins, alkaloids, flavonoids, terpenoids and cardiac glycosides. It contained total ash (6.3%); acid insoluble ash value (3.8%), water soluble ash value (2.5%), ethanol extractive value (4.5%) and moisture content (7%). LD50 was 4472.14 mg/kg. There was significant increase in alanine transaminase (ALT), alanine phosphatase (ALP) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) at 500 mg/kg on the 28th day, indicating liver injury at high dose and prolonged administration. The crude extract of J. gossypifolia (50-200 mg/kg) exhibited moderate prophylactic and significant (P < 0.05) curative activities in both day 4 and 7 tests with a mean survival time comparable to the standard drug, quinine 100 mg/kg. The fractions of the leaf extract of J. gossypifolia exhibited moderate to good prophylactic and curative activities, with ethyl acetate fraction eliciting the best activity in both test models. The leaf extract and fractions of J. gossypifolia administration are safe and possess good antiplasmodial activity, which confirmed its folkloric antimalarial medicinal use.
Key words: Malaria, antimalarial, Plasmodium berghei, Jatropha gossypifolia, toxicity, biochemical parameters.
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