Aqueous extract ofSenecio candicansDC induce liver and kidney damage in a sub-chronic oral toxicity study in Wistar rats

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Senecio candicans DC. (Asteraceae) is used as a remedy for gastric ulcer and stomach pain in the Nilgiris, district, Tamil Nadu. The present investigation was carried out to evaluate the sub-chronic toxicity of an aqueous extract of Senecio candicans (AESC) plant in Wistar albino rats. The study was conducted in consideration of the OECD 408 study design (Repeated Dose 90-Day Oral Toxicity Study in Rodents) and the extract was administered via gavage at doses of 250, 500 or 750 mg/kg body weight per day for 90-days. Hematological, biochemical parameters were determined on days 0, 30, 60 and 90 of administration. Animals were euthanized after 90 d treatment and its liver and kidney sections were taken for histological study. The results of sub-chronic study showed significant increase (P < 0.05) in serum uric acid, creatinine, aspartate transaminase (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALP) levels. Histological examination of liver showed mild mononuclear infiltration in the portal trait, enlarged nucleus around the central vein and mild loss of hepatocyte architecture in rats treated with 750 mg/kg of AESC. Histological examination of kidney showed focal interstitial fibrosis, crowding of glomeruli and mild hydropic change with hypercellular glomeruli in rats treated with 750 mg/kg of AESC. However, no remarkable histoarchitectural change in hepatocytes and glomeruli were observed in rats treated with lower concentrations (250 and 500 mg/kg b.w.) of AESC compared to control group animals. The no-observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) of AESC in the present study was 500 mg/kg b.w. Signs of toxic effects are evident from the current study. Although AESC contains low concentrations of PA, findings from this study suggest that regular consumers of herbal remedies derived from this plant may develop kidney and liver toxicity. Further studies on the isolation and characterization of PAs are necessary to determine the safe dose level of the extract for therapeutic use in traditional medicine.

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