American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Evaluation of the Toxic Effects of Dihydroartemisinin on the Vital Organs of Wistar Albino Rats

A. U. Utoh-Nedosa, P. A. Akah, T. C. Okoye and C. O. Okoli

DOI : 10.3844/ajptsp.2009.169.173

American Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology

Volume 4, Issue 4

Pages 169-173


Problem statement: The current surge in the use of Artemisinin based Combination Therapy (ACT) in the treatment of falciparium resistant malaria in the tropics and the potentials of Dihydroartemisinin (DHA), a member of the artemisinin family, to produce toxic effect in the vital organs (such as the liver, heart, lungs, intestine, spleen kidney and blood cells) necessitated this research. Approach: Rats were treated once orally with DHA (2 mg kg-1) on day 1 and then (1 mg kg-1) on day 2-5 and the treatment was repeated 7 days after the first treatment. The animals were sacrificed 24 h after the second treatment for toxicity studies on the vital organs and liver enzymes activity tests: Serum Alanine amino Transferase (ALT), Serum Aspartate amino Transferase (AST) and serum Alkaline Phosphatase (ALP) tests. Results: Results indicated that dihydroartemisinin significantly (p<0.05) elevated the Packed Cell Volume (PCV), the total White Cell Count (WBC), the percentage neutrophil count (NC) and the percentage Lymphocyte Count (LC). DHA did not affect the serum levels of ALT, AST and ALP, as all the values fell within the normal laboratory range. Histopathological studies revealed no evidence of toxicities in the heart, liver, lungs, intestine, spleen and kidney. The DHA treated and control rats exhibited 75.87 and 29.76% increase in the mean body weight respectively at the end of the second treatment. Conclusion/Recommendations: Oral DHA had no deleterious effects on the hematological parameters, did not alter the values of serum liver enzymes and is devoid of obvious toxic effects on vital organs at the doses tested, while the effects on the WBC also suggested potentials of immunomodulatory effects.


© 2009 A. U. Utoh-Nedosa, P. A. Akah, T. C. Okoye and C. O. Okoli. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.