Lead is a cumulative, multi-systemic toxicant which affects major body systems; it is associated with number of changes that include impairment of liver function. This study investigated the effects of extract of Launaea taraxacifolia on sub-chronic lead poisoning in adult wistar rats; it evaluated the effects of one of dimecarptosuccinic acid (DMSA), Vitamin C (VC); and combination therapy (DMSA + VC, DMSA + LT) on sub-chronic lead poisoning in adult rats. This was with a view to providing scientific basis for the use of L. taraxacifolia in the management of lead poisoning. Sixty rats (180-200 g) of both sex were randomly grouped into ten (n=6). One group was allowed free access to distilled water only, while eight groups were allowed free access to lead acetate (2 mg/ml) in drinking water, for 5 weeks consecutively. Seven out of the eight groups were later administered Launaea taraxacifolia extract (50, 100 and 200 mg/kg, p. o), DMSA, DMSA + LT, DMSA + VC and VC only for 21 days consecutively. The tenth group was administered LT (100 mg/kg) for 21 days, and later allowed free access to lead acetate in drinking water (2 mg/ml) for 5 weeks. Blood sample was collected and analysed for blood lead level (BLL), urine lead level (ULL), Alanine transaminase (ALT), Aspartate transaminase (AST), antioxidant activity of the extract [Reduced gluthatione (GSH), catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD)] on day 20 and 22. Liver was harvested and processed for histological study: There was significant decrease in BLL, ALT, AST and glucose level in lead exposed rats treated with LT (100 mg/kg), however, combination of DMSA with LT or VC showed marked improvement than LT, DMSA or VC alone. GSH, SOD and catalase level were significantly increased in lead exposed rats treated with LT (p<0.05). Micrograph of the liver revealed remarkable improvement in the lead exposed rats treated with LT. In conclusion, leaf extract of Launaea taraxacifolia has ameliorative and preventive effect on hepatotoxicity of lead poisoning, thereby supporting its ethno medicinal use in the management of poisoning.
Omotayo A. Eluwole*, Oluwole I. Adeyemi and Moses A. Akanmu