Crude oil is found in water and soil due to pollution resulting from oil exploration and exploitation. It is used as traditional medicine in some countries, especially among rural dwellers in the south-south and south-eastern Nigeria. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Escravos crude oil on serum cholesterol, estradiol and progesterone in the ovary of Chinchilla rabbits. A total of thirty female Chinchilla rabbits of age twelve to fourteen weeks and weighing 1.2 to 1.45 kg were used. Crude oil was orally given at the dose of 15, 20, 25 and 30 mg/kg body weight, corresponding to groups B, C, D and E, respectively for 28 days while group A was the Control. The results showed a significant increase in serum levels of estradiol, cholesterol and ovary weight (p < 0.05) while a significant decrease in serum level of progesterone (p < 0.05) was observed. The histological findings include: ovarian cysts, fibrosis, marked lymphocytic infiltrations and hydropic cells. Therefore, Escravos crude oil could be considered as a potential endocrine disruptor which can affect the tissue architecture and the endocrine functions of the ovary.
Key words: Chinchilla rabbits, Escravos crude oil, estradiol, fibrosis, hydropic cells, progesterone, ovarian cysts, total cholesterol.
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