Objective: Homalium letestui Pellegr (Flacourtiaceae) has been traditionally used by the Ibibios of Southern Nigeria to treat stomach ulcer, malaria and other inflammatory diseases and Yorubas of western Nigeria as an antidote. This study evaluates the hepatoprotective properties of the ethanol extract of the plant stem.
Materials and Methods: The hepatoprotective effect of the extract of the stem of the plant (200-600 mg/kg) was evaluated by the assay of liver function parameters, namely total and direct bilirubin, serum protein and albumin, total cholesterol, alanine aminotransaminase (ALT), aspartate aminotransaminase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase activities (ALP), antioxidant enzymes like superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), reduced glutathione (GSH) and histopathological study of the liver. Also, GCMS analysis of n-butanol fraction of the extract was carried out.
Results: Administration of the extract of the stem of the plant caused a significant (p<0.05 – 0.001) dose-dependent reduction of high levels of liver enzymes (ALT, AST and ALP), total cholesterol, direct and total bilirubin as well as elevation of serum levels of total protein, albumin and antioxidant enzymes (SOD, CAT, GPx and GSH). Histology of the liver sections from extract and silymarin-treated animals showed reductions in the pathological features compared to the paracetamol-treated animals. The chemical pathological changes were consistent with histopathological observations suggesting marked hepatoprotective effect of the extract of H. letestui stem. GCMS analysis of n-butanol fraction revealed the presence of 16 bioactive compounds.
Conclusion: The results show that the extract of H. letestui has hepatoprotective potential which may be due to the antioxidant activity of its phytoconstituents.