In Vivo Safety of Dichloromethane-Methanolic Extracts of Allium Sativum L. in Swiss Albino Mice
Kariuki, Duncan Maina
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The indiscriminate use of A. sativum L. in treatment of various diseases can pose a great danger to various body functions. It results to toxicity within the body system e.g. in both dogs and cats, A. sativum L. has been associated with oxidative hemolysis and Heinz body formation leading to anemia and methemoglobinemia. Therefore, assessment of hematological and biochemical parameters of this plant extract can be used to determine its safety and toxic margins. Just like other terrestrial plants, A. sativum L. has a variety ethnopharmacological uses and has been exploited by both local and international individuals in search of various remedies for various diseases. Although, A. sativum is widely known to have various curative properties, there has been no scientific data documented about its safety on hematological and biochemical parameters. The body weight of both treated and control mice were recorded before, during and at the end of the experiment. Blood samples were collected from experimental and control groups on 29th day for biochemical and hematological profiles and were analysed using an auto-analyser. The results of this study showed that DCM- MeOH extract of A. sativum L. induced significant increase in the levels of red blood cell, hemoglobin and hematocrit across the 100, 500, 1000 and 2000mg/kgbw dose levels (p<0.05). However, the red blood cell indices (MC, MCH and MCHC) did not show a significant change at all the dose levels (p>0.05). The total and differential white blood cell counts also increased significantly at all dose levels (p<0.05). However, the platelets and the related parameters did not have any significant change at all the dose levels during this study period (p>0.05). The DCM-MeOH extract of A. sativum L. caused a significant increase in the levels of liver functions profiles across the 100, 500 and 2000mg/kgbw dose levels (p<0.05). The kidney functions parameter levels also increased significantly at all the dose levels (p<0.05). Qualitative phytochemical screening confirmed the presence of various phytochemicals which included alkaloids, flavonoids, steroids, saponins, cardiac glycosides and phenolics. These phytochemicals are understood to play a major role in gene expression, erythropoietin stimulatory, thrombopoietic stimulatory, immune-stimulatory and enzyme activities. Flavonoids, cardiac glycosides and alkaloids are also responsible in the increase in the RBC count through their antioxidant properties. Conversely, an increase in saponins may result to a decrease in red blood cell indices (MCV, MCH and MCHC). It was therefore concluded that the plant extract, subject to various stipulated assays, is safe at particular doses as indicated by changes in hematological parameters. On the other hand, the study also shows that plant extract is not safe at high doses as indicated by change in the liver and kidney parameters which showed hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity respectively. It was recommended that dosages above 1000mg/kgbw of A. sativum L. were unsafe and therefore should not be used. Moreover, it was suggested that there was need to carryout chronic in vivo safety study of the extract in order to compare the outcomes. Additionally, it was further suggested that similar study should be pursued using an alternative route of extract administration.