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Aim: This investigation was aimed at determining the cytotoxic activity of Prunus avium leaf and stem bark extracts as well as their acute toxicity in rats.
Methodology: The plant materials were air dried and grinded mechanically followed by solvent
(ethanol) percolation for 48 h. Freshly hatched brine shrimp nauplii were exposed to the extracts in artificial sea water in the cytotoxic assay. Also, twelve adult male albino rats were placed in three groups of four (4) rats each, group I received distilled water, II and III were given orally, 300 and 200 mg/Kg body weight of the leaf and stem bark extract respectively for a period of 7 days. Haematological indices such as WBC, RBC, PCV, Hb and platelets were assayed while the internal organs including heart, liver and kidneys were weighed. The levels of serum ALT, ALP and AST were also determined.
Results: In the cytotoxic assay, A. salina showed high mortality against the plant crude extracts. The LC50 value of 8.89 ppm and 3.07 ppm were obtained for the leaf and stem bark extracts respectively. In the acute toxicity assay, an oral median lethal dose LD50 of the plant leaf and stem bark extracts were found to be 2738.61 mg/kg bw and 1870.83 mg/kg bw respectively. There were significant (p=0.05) reduction in the levels of RBC, PCV and Hb in the treated rats while there were increase in WBC and platelets compared with the control. Moreover, the plant extract had a significant (p<0.05) increase on the weight of liver of the treated groups II (5.323), III (6.055) compared with the control (4.881g). Also, there was a significant increase in the heart weight in group III (0.738g) while that of control (0.577g) and group II (0.609g) were not significantly different. Further, there was a significant increase in ALP and AST in treated groups (II and III) while ALT increased in group III whereas it was comparable in group II and control.
Conclusion: P. avium extracts may possess antitumor activity as shown with the effect on brine shrimps. Also, the plant leaf and stem bark appears to possess adverse effect on heart and liver of rats at high doses. Therefore it should be used in moderation as it is capable of causing suppression of haematopoietic system as well as multiple organ failure at high doses.