This study assessed the effects of artesunate on the Purkinje cell density and transverse diameters in the cerebellar cortex of Wistar rats. Twenty four Wistar rats were separated into four groups. Groups A, B and C orally received 4 mg/kg body weight of artesunate on day 1. Group A continued with this dosage for the next 3 days while rats in groups B and C received 2 mg/kg once daily for the next 6 and 13 days respectively. Group D received equal volume of distilled water. The treated rats were sacrificed by cervical dislocation on the 5th, 8th and 15th day of the study respectively and the controls were sacrificed on the 15th day the study. The brains were removed for routine tissue processing. The cerebellar weights of the treated were not significantly different from the controls. The Purkinje cell density and diameters was significantly reduced in treated rats compared to the controls. The diameters of Purkinje cells in group A treated rats increased significantly, compared with the other treated groups. The cerebellar functions may be adversely affected by the decrease in Purkinje cell density and diameters in the treated rats because of the principal role of purkinje cells in the cerebellum
Key words: Artesunate, Purkinje cells, degeneration, cerebellar cortex, density, transverse diameters.
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