STUDIES ON THE NEUROMUSCULAR EFFECTS OF THE EXTRACTS OF ABRUS PRECATORIUS LINN

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STUDIES ON THE NEUROMUSCULAR EFFECTS OF THE EXTRACTS OF ABRUS PRECATORIUS LINN

Abstract:

Abrus precatorius Linn. was reported to be a medicinal plant (Ghosal & Dutta, 1971). The seeds of the plant have been reported to cause paralysis in horses (Nwude, 1979). In order to determine if this plant contributes to paralysis observed in humans at the Physiotherapy Department, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria, Nigeria, an investigation was carried out on the neuromuscular effects of the crude water, petroleum ether and ethanol extracts of the seeds, leaves and root of Abrus precatorius Linn. Isolated toad’s rectus abdominis, rat’s phrenic nerve-diaphragm muscle preparation, as well as chicks were used in this study. Isometric contractions of the muscle preparations were recorded by Ugo Basile recording microdynamometer (model No. 7050) . Only the ethanol extracts antagonised the effect of acetylcholine on the isolated tissues.. The ethanol extract of the seeds (0.1 – 1.6 mg/ml) inhibited (32.00 – 84.33%) acetylcholine-induced contractions of toad’s rectus abdominis mucole. Similarly, the ethanol extract of the leaves (1.0 – 8.0 mg/ml) inhibited (21.77 – 80.02%) the acetylcholine-induced contraction of the toad’s rectus abdominis, while the ethanol extract of the roots (0.5 – 4.0 mg/ml) also inhibited (20.75 – 85.80%) the contraction of the tissue. The antagonism was reversible. On the rat’s tissue, the ethanol extract of the seeds (0.1 – 0.8 mg/ml) inhibited (0.1+2 – 77.50%) the contraction of the diaphragm elicited by electrical stimulation of the phrenic nerve. Similarly, the ethanol extract of the leaves (0.5 – 4.0 mg/ml) antagonised (0.99 – 89.83%) the contraction of the diaphragm muscle via phrenic nerve stimulation, while the ethanol extract of the roots (0.3 – 2.4 mg/ml) inhibited (4.89 – 86.47%) the same contraction. The antagonism in each case was potentiated by d-tubocurare and reversed by eserine. The inhibitory effect of the ethanol extracts on the nerve-induced contraction of the rat’s diaphragm was potentiated in the presence of reduced Ca++ (1.25 mM), elevated Mg++ (2.50 mM) or reduced K+ (0.9 mM). The hot water extracts of the seeds, leaves and roots, and the petroleum ether extract of the seeds induced spastic paralysis in five day old chick;;. On the other hand, the ethanol extracts of the seeds., leaves and roots caused flaccid paralysis when injected intravenously into chicks. The ethanol extract of the seeds was most toxic, whereas that of the leaves was least toxic on weight basis. The ethanol extracts showed a similarity to d-tubocurare vis-a-vis the pattern of neuromuscular blockade. The present data indicate that the ethanol extracts of the seeds, leaves and roots of Abrus precatorius possess neuromuscular blocking effects.

STUDIES ON THE NEUROMUSCULAR EFFECTS OF THE EXTRACTS OF ABRUS PRECATORIUS LINN

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