A Preliminary Study on The Effects of Khat (Catha Edulis) on Liver and Kidney of Mice
Chewing of Khat, which typically consists of the young leaves and shoots of the Catha edulis plant for its stimulant effects, is rampart in East, Central and Southern Africa, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Iraq, Iran Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Khat contains more than 40 alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Most of the effects of chewing Khat are thought to come from two phenylalkylanines-cathinone and cathine which are structurally related to amphetamine. Khat abuse is associated with neurosis, ulcers, increased diastolic pressure, and vasoconstriction of coronary vasculature, gastritis and hemorrhoids. The potential for hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity of Khat chewing is however unknown. This study was conducted to evaluate the biochemical, hematological and histocytological effects of Khat extract on liver and kidney mice when administered orally with different non-alcoholic substance consumed alongside by Khat users. The non alcoholic substances used were water, coke, milk, patico sweet, tea, coffee and groundnut in different groups respectively. Forty five male albino mice were used in the study. The mice were grouped into nine. The Khat extracts was administered orally at a dosage of 2000mg/kg/day together with non-alcoholic substances for 30 days. Physical parameters of namely body weight and morphology of the liver and kidney were collected. The liver enzymes (aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase and total bilirubin were evaluated. The kidney function enzymes like creatinine and blood urea nitrogen were evaluated. Enzymes were analysed using Cobas Integra® 400 plus automatic Chemistry Analyzer (Roche Diagnostic, Mannheim, Germany). The histocytological analyses for liver and kidney tissues were done using hematoxylin and eosin staining technique. The collected biochemical, hematological and cytohistological data were statistically analysed using paired t-test. Results indicated that there were hepatic enlargement, abnormal elevation in serum aspartate transferase (AST), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), serum bilirubin, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine (Cr). The cytological and histological findings also indicated cytopathological and histopathological abnormalities in the liver and the kidney. Khat administration in the albino mice orally was associated with hepatic hypertrophy, hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity irrespective of the non-alcoholic substance it was administered with. Use of paired t test between a negative control and the test groups indicated that there was a significant difference in relative liver weight at p < 0.05. Khat extraction on albino mice leads to increase liver and renal enzymes used as the biomarkers of renal and liver injury. The histological and cytological studies indicated abnormality in cells and tissues of male albino mice. The results of the study provide information on the possible adverse effects on the liver and kidney. The information generated by the study can be used by the public health officer and the clinician to inform the public on the possibilities of Khat to cause liver and kidney problems. Study of the oral effects of Khat on liver and kidney of albino mice need to be carried out using a replication test at logarithmically spaced dose levels to clearly demonstrate the dose-time effects of the Khat extract and corresponding tissue responses at different doses to justify in need the Khat extract have biological effects on the liver and kidney and also to be carried out in large animals and primates to show effects of Khat on human liver and kidney. The study can be used by policy makers on the decision to take concerning consumption of Khat.