Hybanthus enneaspermus is used by traditional birth attendants (TBAs) in southwest Nigeria in antenatal care. We examined the effects of oral administration of aqueous leaf extract of H. enneaspermus (HEaq) on liver weight and assay, maternal-thyroid hormones, foetal growth and litters birth weights in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Twelve pregnant SD rats were used for this study. Control group received distilled water while the test group received 2 g/kg body weight of HEaq orally throughout the period of pregnancy. On day 19 of pregnancy, animals were sacrificed by CO2 asphyxiation and cervical dislocation. Blood samples were withdrawn into sterile tubes and centrifuged to obtain serum that was used for assay. Liver hormogenate was used for liver function test. The following were assayed; alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), thyroid hormone, thyrotrophin and TSH in both control and treated rats. Some rats were allowed to carry their pregnancy to term. All rules guiding animal care and humane handling methods of laboratory animals in animal experimentation were followed. The results of the study showed a significant increase in serum and liver homogenate level of biomarkers of liver injury (ALP, ALT and AST). The serum T3 and TSH were significantly lowered in all extract treated rats compared to control, while T4 and thyrotrophin were not significantly altered. A significant reduction in placenta and foetal birth weights were recorded in the extract treated group. Oral administration of HEaq during pregnancy adversely affected maternal thyroid hormones, placental and foetal development. HEaq administration to pregnant rats also precipitated increased biomarkers of liver damage.
Key words: Hybanthus enneaspermus, pregnancy outcome, thyroid hormone, litters birth weight, liver function test.
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