Carica papaya dried leaves have been indicated in sickle cell anemia management by local indigenous folk and in recent scientific research. In this research, dried C. papaya leaves were extracted using the soxhlet extraction method with 5 different solvents to give five different fractions namely hexane, chloroform, ethyl acetate, butanol and water. This research examined the crude extract and the various leaf extract fractions of C. papaya L. (Caricaceae) for possible in vitro antisickling activities on Hbss red blood cells obtained from non-crisis state sickle cell patients involving the use of positive (p-hydroxybenzoic acid 5 mg /ml) and negative (normal saline) controls for the antisickling experiments. Pretreatment of SS cell suspensions with C. papaya leaf extract and fractions all inhibited formation of sickle cells under severe hypoxia at varying degrees, with only 0 - 5% sickle cells in the crude extract at 60 min compared with untreated SS cell suspensions which had over 80% sickle cells. Analysis of two different concentrations of C. papaya crude extract (10 and 5 mg/ml) showed the 10 mg/ml extract as the concentration with highest antisickling effect. Butanol extract showed the highest antisickling activity at 10 mg/ml concentration, while the ethyl acetate extract had the highest antisickling activity at 5 mg/ml concentration. These results further indicate the possibility of C. papaya leaf extract as potential phytotherapy for sickle cell anemia.
Key words: Antisickling, sickle cell disorder, C. papaya, fractionation.
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