Alterations of selected biomarkers and reproductive tissues histoarchitecture in offspring of artemether-lumefantrine treated lactating dams


Artemether-lumefantrine, antioxidant, hormone, lactation, reproductive toxicity


Background: Evidence from previous studies suggests that most antimalarial agents adversely
affect reproductive functions. The deleterious effects of artemether-lumefantrine on
reproductive functions have also been documented but there is dearth of knowledge on the
generational reproductive outcomes during lactation. Hence, we investigated the reproductive
outcomes in offspring of dams treated with artemether-lumefantrine during lactation.
Methods: Ten lactating dams were randomly assigned into two groups (n=5) and treated as
follows: Group I (control) received distilled water (1 ml/kg BW, p.o.) while Group II received
artemether-lumefantrine (4/24 mg/kg BW, p.o.) for seven (7) consecutive days immediately
after parturition. Pups were thereafter weaned and later given rat chow with water ad libitum
daily, before they were euthanized at postnatal day 90 (PND 90). Results: The results showed
that although the anti-malarial drug caused a significant decrease in serum testosterone and
estrogen levels in offspring of the treated group, relative to the control group; however, follicle
stimulating and luteinizing hormones, sperm motility, sperm viability and sperm count were
not significantly different between the two groups. Moreover, only testicular catalase activity
was significantly decreased with a concomitant interstitial edema and defective
histoarchitectural presentation in the testis and ovary. Nevertheless, the level of
malondialdehyde was unaltered in both testes and ovarian tissues of the treated group as
compared with control. Conclusion: Therefore, this study suggests that exposure to
artemether-lumefantrine during lactation could disrupt steroidogenic functions in both
testicular and ovarian tissues of offspring in adult life.