Aim: Hepatotoxicity, among other adverse effects, constitutes one of the greatest impediments to successful antiretroviral drug therapy (ART) in HIV/AIDS patients. The main objective of the study was to determine if the aqueous leaf extract of Ocimum gratissimum has a protective effect on ART-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
Place and Duration: Department of Pharmacology, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu University, Nigeria (six months duration).
Methodology: Twenty five (25) albino rats of both sexes were divided into 5 groups of 5 each and treated as follows: Group A (no antiretroviral drugs, no extract); group B (antiretroviral drugs alone); group C (extract alone); group D (antiretroviral drug plus 40 mg/kg extract); group E (antiretroviral drug plus 80 mg/kg extract). All treatment lasted for twenty eight days. Blood samples were collected and serum alanine transaminase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) determined using UV-spectrophotometer. Thereafter, the animals were sacrificed and their livers harvested and examined histologically. The mean (± S.E.M) of data were calculated and further analyzed for statistical significance using graph Pad Prism 5.0.
Results: Mean serum ALT were 35.6±6.4, 54.0±9.4, 53.8±22.9, 90.5±21.9, 86.5±13.9 and that of AST were 143.8±19.7, 205.2±14.9, 58.0±27.9, 162.3±41.4, 150.5±44.8 for groups A, B, C, D, and E respectively. There was a statistically significant difference between the mean values of serum AST for group B and those for group C (p value of 0.016). However there was no statistically significant difference between the ALT values for the test and control groups of rats (p value > 0.999). Also, there was no statistically significant difference between the mean values of AST for group B and those of groups A, D, E (p value = 0.659). The histology report for the liver was normal for all groups.
Conclusions: This extract did not produce significant reduction of serum ALT and AST in ART-treated rats in this study However, this reduction in serum aminotransferases was not observed in the groups that received antiretroviral drugs plus the extract. These statistical findings show that there was no statistically significant difference in serum ALT and AST between the exposed and control groups (p > 0.05). Consequently, the null hypothesis was accepted and the alternative hypothesis rejected. Therefore, it could be concluded that at the doses of ART and extract and length of exposure used in this study, aqueous leaf extract of Ocimum gratissimum did not reduce the serum level of ALT and AST in rats.