Teratogenic Effect of Aqueous Leaf Extract of Aspilia africana on The Dentate Gyrus of Albino Wistar Rat Fetuses


Aspilia africana is an herbal plant widespread in Africa used for medicinal purposes and also used by pregnant women for health related issues. This study was aimed at investigating the teratogenic effect of aqueous leaf extract of Aspilia africana on the dentate gyrus of albino wistar rat fetuses. Twenty (20) female adult rats weighing between 190-205g were used for this study. The rats were divided into four groups; control, low dose, medium dose and high dose with each group containing five rats. Pregnancy was induced by caging the female rats with sexually matured males. The presence of vaginal plug and tail structure in the vaginal smear the following morning confirmed coition, and it was regarded as day 0 of pregnancy. The control group was given distilled water. The low dose, medium dose, and the high dose groups received 750mg/kg, 1000mg/kg, and 1250mg/kg body weight of aqueous leaf extract of Aspilia africana through an orogastric tube from day 7-11 of gestation. On the 20th day of gestation, the animals were sacrificed using chloroform-inhalation method. Their fetuses were harvested via uterectomy, the brain was excised and fixed in 10% buffered formalin, and then routine histological processes were carried out. Staining was done using Haematoxylin and Eosin method. Histological observation of the dentate gyri of experimental groups revealed marked distortion, reduction of the polymorphic layer, hyperplasia and hypertrophy of cells in the molecular and granular layer especially in the high dose group whose mothers received 1250mg/kg of the extracts. The result suggests high doses of aqueous leaf extract of Aspilia africana may be teratogenic to the dentate gyrus of Wistar rat fetuses.

Click to view file (PDF)


Amaral D.G., Scharfman, H.E., Lavenex, P (2007). The dentate gyrus: fundamental neuroanatomical

Bayer S.A and Altman J (2008). The Human Brain During The Early First Trimester. 5 Atlas of Human Central Nervous System Development. Appendix, p. 497.

Bayer, S. A., Yackel, J. W., Puri, P. S (1982). Neurons in the rat dentate gyrus granular layer substantially increase during juvenile and adult life. Science. 216 (4548): 890–892.

Bayer, S. and Altman, J (1974). Hippocampal development in the rat: cytogenesis and morphogenesis examined with autoradiography and low-level X-irradiation. J Compar Neurol. 158 (1): 55–79.

Benarroch E.E (2013). Adult neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus: general concepts and potential implications. Neurol 81(16): 1443-1452.

Brickman A.M., Khan, U.A., Provenzano, F.A., Yeung, L.K., Suzuki, W., Schroter, H., Wall, M, Sloan, R.P and Small, S.A (2014). Enhancing dentate gyrus function with dieting flavonols improves cognition in older adults. Nat Neurosci 17(12): 1798-1803.

Cameron, H. A., and McKay, R. D (2001). Adult neurogenesis produces a large pool of new granule cells in the dentate gyrus. J Compar Neurol. 435, 406–417.

Christian A.G., Mfon, A.G., Dick, E.A., Oku, E.D., Linus, A.J and Chukuma, E.B (2012). Antimalarial potency of the leaf of Aspilia africana (Pers.) C.D.Adams. Asian Pac J Trop Med 5(2): 126-129.

Deng, W., Aimone, J. B., and Gage, F. H (2010). New neurons and new memories: how does adult hippocampal neurogenesis affect learning and memory? Nature Rev Neurosci 11 (5): 339–350.

Eriksson, P S., Perfilieva, E., Björk-Eriksson, T. Ann-Marrie, A., Claes Nordbeorg, Daniel A., and Fred H. G (1998). Neurogenesis in the adult human hippocampus. J Nat Med. 4 (11): 1313–1317.

Iwu M. M (1993). Handbook of African Medical Plants. Boca Raton, FL: CRC press; Pp 367.

Jahanshahi, M., Sadeghi, Y., Hosseini, A., Naghdi, N (2007). The effect of spatial learning on the number of astrocytes in rats’ dentate gyrus. Neuroanat. 6:51–53.

Kitabatake, Y., Sailor, K.A., Ming, G and Song, H (2007). Adult neurogenesis and hippocampal memory function: new cells, more plasticity, new memories? Neurosurg Clin N Am 18(1): 105-113.

Komakech, R., Matsabisa, M.G and Kang, Y (2019). The wound healing potential of Aspilia africana (Pers.) C.D. Adams (Asteraceae). Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 7957860. 1-12.

Mander, M. and Breton, G. (2006). Overview of the Medicinal Plants Industry in Southern Africa. In: Commercialising Medicinal Plants in Southern Africa Guide, Diederichs, N. (Ed.). Sun Press, South Africa, p: 3-8.

Marzban, M., Asi, S.S., Huseini, H.F., Tondar, M., Choopani, S., Mehdizadeh M (2011). Effects of butternut squash extract on dentate gyrus cell proliferation and spatial learning in male adult rats. Trad Chinese Med neurodegen 692): 1855-1859.

Ming, G. L., and Song, H (2011). Adult neurogenesis in the mammalian brain: significant answers and significant questions. Neuron 70, 687–702.

Nakashiba, T.; Cushman, J. D.; Pelkey, K. A.; Renaudineau, S.; Buhl, D. L.; McHugh, T. J.; Rodriguez Barrera, V.R., Chittajallu, R., Iwamoto, K.S., McBain, C.J., Fanselow, M.S., Tonegawa, S (2012). Young dentate granule cells mediate pattern separation whereas old granule cells facilitate pattern completion. Cell, 149(1): 188-201.

Okoli, C. O., Akah, P. A and Okoli, A (2007). Potential of leaves of Aspilia africana (Compositae) in wound care: an experimental evaluation. BMC Complement Altern Med, 7: 24.

Okwuonu, C. U., Oluyemi, K. A., Baxter, G. D., Adesanya, O. A., Ukwenya, V. O., Odion, B.I., and Ofusori, D. A (2008). Effects of Methanolic Extract of Aspilia africana leaf on the ovarian tissues and weights of wistar rats. Internet J Altern Med 5(2).

Pan, S.Y., Litscher, G., Gao, S.H., Zhou, S.F., Yu, Z.L., Chen, H.Q., Zhang, S.F., Tang, M.K., Sun,

J.N and Ko, K.M (2014). Historical perspective of traditional indigenous medical practices: The

current renaissance and conversation of herbal resources. Evidence-based Complem Alt Med.

, 1-20.

Piatti, V.C., Ewell, L.A and Leutgeb, J.K (2013). Neurogenesis in the dentate gyrus: carrying the message or dictating the tone. Front. Neurosci. 7: 50.

Saab B.J., Georgion, J., Nath, A., Lee, F.J., Wang, M., Michalon, A., Liu, F., Mansry, I.M., Roder, J.C

(2009). NCS-1 in the dentate gyrus promotes exploration, synaptic plasticity, and rapid

acquisition of spatial memory. Neuron. 63(5): 643-656.

Scharfman, H.E (2007). The dentate gyrus: A comprehensive guide to structure, function and clinical

implications. Prog. Brain. Res. 163: 1-823.

Single, S. C (1965). Medicinal Plants of Nigeria, 1st Edition. Nigerian National Press, Apapa. P: 31-34.

Treves A., Tashiro, A., Witter, M.P., Moser, E.I (2008). What is the mammalian dentate gyrus good for? Neuroscience 154: 1155–1172.

Wondergem, P., Senah, K. A., and Glover, E. K (1989). Herbal Drugs in Primary Health care. Ghana: An Assessment of the Relevance of Herbal Drugs in Primary Health Care and Some Suggestions for Strengthening PHC. Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam.

Xavier, G. F (2009). Dentate gyrus and spatial behavior. Prog Neuro-Psychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 33 (5): 762–773.

Zhang, L and Zhang, X (2018). Factors regulating neurogenesis in the adult dentate gyrus, the

hippocampus- plasticity and functions. Intechopen, 75631

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Copyright (c) 2022 Nigerian Journal of Physiological Sciences