The hepatoprotective activities and the mechanisms of actions of Musanga cecropioides
aqueous extract (MCW) were investigated on acute hepatocellular injuries induced by intraperitoneal (IP)
carbon tetrachloride (CCl4
) (20% CCl4
/olive oil, 1.5 mL/kg) and 800 mg/kg/IP of acetaminophen (APAP)
in normal saline, in male Wistar rats. Among the Yorubas (South-West Nigeria), cold decoction of MCW is
used as a natural antidote for oral gastric poisonings, infective hepatitis and other liver diseases. Its
hepatoprotective activities were monitored by assaying for the serum aminotransferases, ornithine
carbamoyl transferase and the toxicant-induced histopathological lesions in rat livers 24 hours postinduction.
These enzymes are markers of acute hepatic injuries and their elevations are indications of acute
liver injuries. Pretreatment of rats with graded doses (125 - 500 mg/kg) of MCW significantly attenuated
the acute elevation of the liver enzymes and the hepatotoxin-induced histopathological lesions in the rat
livers. The presence of two active natural antioxidants (flavonoids and alkaloids) in high concentrations in
MCW may account for the hepatoprotective activities observed in this study. These results, thus, support
the folkloric use of MCW for treatment of hepatic injuries resulting from acute gastric poisonings, infective
hepatitis or other liver diseases.