Effect of the ethanolic extract of Nauclea latifolia (Family: Rubiaceae) on the isolated uterus of non-pregnant rats

Nworgu Z. A. M., Owolabi O. J., Atomah J. E.


The plant Nauclea latifolia has been reported to be used by traditional healers to arrest pre-term labour. The ethanolic extract of the root of N. latifolia was screened for activity via agonist–induced contractions of uterine smooth muscles in non-pregnant female albino rats. The extract, at 0.1 and 0.2 mg/ml (final bath concentration), was tested against oxytocin (4×10-5 to 8×10-2 I.U/ml: final bath concentration), acetylcholine (0.04 to 40 μg/ml: final bath concentration) and ergometrine (0.05 to 100 μg/ml: final bath concentration)
induced contractions invitro. The effect of the extract was compared to that of (0.004 μg/ml: final bath concentration) salbutamol and (0.004 μg/ml: final bath concentration) atropine. Both concentrations of the extract significantly shifted the concentration response curves of oxytocin (P<0.01), acetylcholine (P<0.0001) and ergometrine (P<0.0001) to the right with a slight depression of the Emax. This shift was more with the 0.2 mg/ml concentration, thus suggesting the possibility of a dose dependent action. There was no statistical significant decrease in Emax by 0.1 mg/ml of the extract, while the 0.2 mg/ml produced a significant depression (P<0.05) of the Emax, which like salbutamol could not be overwhelmed by higher concentrations of oxytocin. Similarly a significant reduction of the Emax of acetylcholine induced contractions was produced by 0.2 mg/ml, while both concentrations (0.1 and 0.2 mg/ml) produced significant (P<0.0001) reduction in Emax of ergometrine. It can thus be concluded that N latifolia root extractreduces oxytocin, acetylcholine and ergometrine-induced uterine contractions. These inhibitions were non-competitive. The result
indicates an anti-abortifacient property.
Key words: Antagonism, Nauclea latifolia, root extract, uterine-contraction, uterus

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.22377/ijgp.v4i1.119


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