Safety evaluation of supratherapeutic dose ofMaytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reissek extracts on fertility and neurobehavioral status of male and pregnant rats

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Maytenus ilicifolia Mart. ex Reissek is a plant commonly used in folklore medicine in the management of gastric diseases in South America. This study explores the effects of a supratherapeutic dose of aqueous and ethanol extracts of M. ilicifolia (1360 mg/kg) on fertility and neurobehavioral status in male and pregnant rats. A battery of sensory-motor developmental endpoints was carried out to assess impairments on pups of dams orally treated with the aqueous extract of M. ilicifolia during the organogenesis period of pregnancy (GD 9 through GD 14). The neuromotor maturation reflexes and physical developments of the offspring were not significantly different between the groups (p < 0.05). Also, the hippocampal morphology revealed no indices of cell loss in the CA1, CA2, CA3 and CA4 areas. As second protocol, some fertility aspects were investigated in young post pubertal male Wistar rats treated with the ethanol extract for 30 days. The semen quality and testicular tissue morphology of male rats treated with the ethanol extract of M. ilicifolia remained unaffected upon treatment. Thus, the results indicate that the high-dose of M. ilicifolia extracts have no neurotoxic potential on offspring and seem not to affect the sperm quality of male rats.

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