Aqueous decoction of Aspilia africana
C.D Adams (Asteraceae) is an effective antiulcer agent in Southern Nigeria, but little is known about the possible underlying mechanisms. This study investigated the role of gastric acid, neutrophil infiltration and oxidative stress in the anti-ulcerogenic properties of aqueous leaf extract of Aspilia africana
(ALEAA) in rats. Male albino rats were treated with 250, 500, 750 mg/kg ALEAA for 21 days. Gastric ulceration was induced by indomethacin, scored, and assayed to determine the concentration of malondialdehyde (MDA), catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in homogenized samples. Acid output was measured by pyloric ligation method while neutrophil infiltration evaluated by histometry. Indomethacin caused gastric ulcer with an index of 7.50 ± 0.23, increase in MDA concentration and reduction in the concentration SOD and CAT (p<0.05). Pre-treatment with 500 and 750 mg/kg of ALEAA prevented ulcer formation by 45% and 62%, and lipid peroxidation 51% and 57% respectively while SOD and CAT increased in a similar manner. Also, acid output significantly reduced in the 500 and 750 mg/kg ALEAA treated rats by 25% and 36%. Neutrophil infiltration of the ulcerated stomach pre-treated with the three doses decreased (21.5 ± 1.40 cells/field, 15.0 ± 2.50 cells/field, and 11.3 ± 1.00 cells/field versus 42.7 ± 5.50 cells/field). Aspilia africana
enhanced gastroprotection via reduction of acid output, neutrophil infiltration and oxidative stress.