Teratogenic potential of Urtica massaica (Mildbr.) and Croton megalocarpus (Hutch) in mice
Wabai, Yvonne W.
Maina, Mwonjoria J. K.
Mwaniki, Njagi E.
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Urtica massaica (Urticaceae) and Croton megalocarpus are used either as vegetables or as food additives and as medicine in traditional African societies. However, in spite of the widespread consumption of these plants as folklore remedies and for diet, there is a scarcity of scientific data on their teratogenicity. Hence this study sought to assess the teratogenic effects of these plants extracts in an animal model. The study was conducted using Swiss albino mice. The extracts of these plants were administered orally in mice which were then euthanized. The weights of the gravid uterus and pups, as well as the number of pups were determined. The pups were examined for gross malformations. The data set was analysed using one-way analysis of variance and Tukey as the post-Anova test. P < 0.05 was the limit of significance. U. massaica and C. megalocarpus caused 40% and 20% fetal partial resorption respectively. The latter also caused microcephaly and polyhydramnios. Hence U. massaica leaves and C. megalocarpus extracts exhibited teratogenic activity and should be used with care during pregnancy. Keywords: Teratology, Urtica, Croton, fetal resorption, Microcephaly, Polyhydramnios