Comparative Clinical Pathology

, Volume 27, Issue 3, pp 765–772 | Cite as

Co-administration of artemisinin and Ricinodendron heudelotii leaf extract—effects on selected antioxidants and liver parameters in male Wistar rats

  • Omolara F. Yakubu
  • Abiodun H. AdebayoEmail author
  • Emeka S. Okechukwu
  • Alaba O. Adeyemi
  • Emeka J. Iweala
  • Ying-Jun Zhang
Original Article


Startling rate of malaria parasite resistance to artemisinin and its derivatives has led to possible herb–drug antimalarial combination therapy. This study assessed the effect of co-administration of artemisinin and Ricinodendron heudelotii extract on certain liver and antioxidant indices in rats. Four groups containing ten rats each were administered distilled water (group A), artemisinin only (group B), artemisinin with R. heudelotii extract (group C), and R. heudelotii extract only (group D). Serum biochemical values and antioxidant parameters were determined using standard methods respectively. The results revealed that the total protein level increased significantly (p < 0.05) in group C. Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) activities increased significantly (p < 0.05) in the group administered artemisinin only but was regulated to control level both in groups C and D. The liver reduced gutathione (GSH) concentration decreased in the group administered artemisinin only. Similarly, malondialdehyde (MDA) level significantly increased (p < 0.05) in group A while groups C and D showed decrease in MDA and catalase concentrations. Histological examination showed that few of the hepatocytes were necrotic in the group administered artemisinin only while the group administered artemisinin and extract showed mild to moderate central venous congestion and periportal cellular infiltration. The study indicates that the bioactive constituents of the R. heudelotii extract might either have a regulatory effect on artemisinin toxicity or synergistically enhance its activity. Such bioconstituents can further be isolated and characterized for drug development to tackle Plasmodium falciparum resistance.


Ricinodendron heudelotii Euphorbiaceae Artemisinin Antioxidants Histology 



We greatly appreciate the support from the technical staff of the Department of Biochemistry, Covenant University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all authors included in the study.

Ethical approval

The research was approved by the Ethics Committee of the Department of Biological Sciences Covenant University, Nigeria. All animals were also treated in line with the National institute of Health (NIH) guidelines for the use and care for animals in the laboratory (NIH 2011).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biochemistry, College of Science and TechnologyCovenant UniversityOtaNigeria
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Phytochemistry and Plant Resources of West China, Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina

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