In this study, the effect of methanol extract of whole aerial parts of Phyllantus niruri on some specific and non-specific immune response was investigated. The effects of P. niruri on in vivo leucocyte mobilization, delayed type hypersensitivity (DTHR) response, and humoral antibody (HA) response were determined in rats. Acute toxicity profile of P. niruri was evaluated in mice. The Agar induced in vivo leucocytes mobilization into the rats peritoneal fluid was (P<0.05) increased by P. niruri N (200 and 400 mg/kg) in a dose related manner. The total leucocytes count was higher in the extract treated group than the control group. Polymorphonuclear neutrophils (PMNS) were more mobilized than the lymphocytes. P. niruri at 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight produced significant (P<0.05) inhibition of DTH response in rat by 30.55, 66.67 and 44.44%, respectively with 200 mg/kg being most significant. The primary and secondary sheep red blood cell antibody titres were significantly elevated when compared with the control group. P. niruri administered orally showed no death or signs of acute intoxication at doses up to 5000 mg/kg after 24 h of observation. The result of this study showed that the methanol extract of P. niruri whole plant possess immunomodulatory activities and warrant further investigation to determine the specific constituent(s) of the plant responsible for this property.
Key words: Phyllantus niruri, leucocyte mobilization, delayed type hypersensitivity (DTHR), humoral antibody titre, immunomodulation.
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