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PROTECTIVE EFFECT OF GUL-E- TEESU
(BUTEA MONOSPERMA (LAM) FLOWERS)
IN EXPERIMENTAL LIVER INJURY

S.K. Nazimuddin, S.Quamaruddin, S.S.Tahera,
M. Ashfaquddin, A.Rehana and Md. Iqbal Ali.
India

An Aqueous extract of Gul-e-teesu (flowers of Butea monosperma (B.M.) offered protection against experimentally induced liver injury by CCI4 in albino rats as shown by biochemical and histopathological studies. In Pentobarbitone sleeping time studies the extract showed improvement of the metabolic functions in these liver injured animals. In partial hepatecromised rats it showed significant increase in rate of liver regeneration.

 INTRODUCTION

When Arab medicine was introduced in India they incorporated known and new Indian drugs and added to the materia medica of Islamic system of medicine. Gul-e- Teesu (Butea monosperma Syn. B. Frondosa) belonging to the family Leguminaecea was one of them 1. The flowers are claimed to be tonic, aphrodiasiac, diuretic and yield yellow dye.2.3,4oo. It was also claimed to be a blood purifier, anti-inflammatory, corrective of humours namely bile, phelgm and black biles, antihelminthic, antipyretic, appetiser and used in spleenomegally (6) and viral hepatitis (7).

A crystalline fraction composed of the glycosides butrin and plasitirin isolated from the alcoholic extract of the petals reduced the number of implants in the mated rats (8). A good deal of controversy exists regarding the antioestrogenic effect of the alcoholic extract of the petals of the flowers. But the present study communicates the experimental investi-gations conducted to evaluate the effects of Gul-e-teesu (B.M.) on carbon tetrachloride induced liver injury and on partial hepatectomised experimental animals.

RESULTS

Effect on Pentobarbitone Sleepint Time: In group II, treated with CCI 4 alone, the pentobarbitone sleeping time was considerably more than the controls due to the extensive liver damage and the inability of the injured liver to metabolise pentobarbitone. In group II', (CCI4 + B.M.) the pentobarbitone sleeping time was almost comparable to that of normal control, showing the improved liver function.  Group IV, (B.M. alone) did not have any significant effect in pentobarbitone sleeping time. The results are presented in table No.1.

Biochemical Changes:

Plasma Proteins: Estimation of plasma proteins in the various groups of animals revealed the following. It was observed that there was no significant change in the total proteins between all the four groups. While the A/G ration in the normal control rats was found to be 1:0.69 in animals treated with CCI4 alone (Group II) the A/G ratio was found to .be 1: 2.12 thereby showing a significant reversal (P < 0.001 ), while there was no change in the A/G ratio of animal treated with B.M. alone (Group IV). There was a definite indication of inhibition of A/G ratio reversal in animals treated with CCI4 and B.M. (Group III). Administration of B.M. definitely appears to have an inhibitory activity in the reversal of albumin globulin ratio induced by CCI4 (p < 0.01 ). The results are presented in table No. II

Serum Bilirubin: It can be seen from table II that there was no significant change in the levels of serum bilirubin between the normal control (Group I) and B.M. treated animals. (Group IV). However, in animals treated with CCI4 alone (Group II) there was a steep increase in the levels of serum bilirubin (P < 0.001) and administration of B.M. to animals treated with CCI4 (Group III) appear to inhibit the elevation of serum bilirubin which was found significant (P < 0.01 ).

Serum Alkaline Phosphatase: Here again, it can be seen from table II that there was no significant difference in the serum alkaline phos-phatase activity from the normal control (Group 1) and B.M. treated animals (Group IV) while there was a significant elevation in the alkaline phosphatase activity in the CCI 4 treated animals (Group II) compared to Group III animals (P < 0.001 ).It was observed that B.M. has a definite role in preventing the increase of alkaline phosphatase activity induced by CCI4.

SGPT: There was no difference between group I and Group IV animals. However, in animals treated with CCI4 along (Group II) the SGPT values show a tremendous increase (P < 0.001) and in animals treated with CCI4 + B.M. (Group III) such a significant increase was not observed. The results are presented in table II.

Histopathological Studies:

In CCI4 treated animals (Group II) a swelling and hydrophic degene-ration of the centralobular heptic cells developed. These changes progressed to a diffuse fatty degeneration and mid zonal necrosis followed by the leucocytic infiltration. The necrosis in some cases was also focal. The intermediary zone presented a number of baloon cells. But in CCI 4 and B.M. treated animals (Group III) hepatic cell walls were normal. Hepatic cells did not show fatty infiltration / degeneration in almost all lobules and they were no nuclea changes in liver cells. There was no bile stagnation seen in the bilIary cannaliculi and the normal architecture was well preserved. Only a mild infiltration of round cells were seen in ports tract. They did not have any deliterious effect on the liver. The difference between the sections of the control group (Group I) and B.M. treated (Group III) were minimal characterised by absence of nuclea pathology, inflammatory infiltration, pigmented disturbance and fibrosis. Thus the drug appears to have definite protective effect by way of preventing the deleterious effect of CCI 4 on liver .

Effect On Partially Hepatectomised Rats

It can be seen from the Table III that the liver regeneration in B.M. treated animals is much moe higher than the controls and statistically significant. While the regeneration of liver in the control animals was 1 03 .75 %, 24 hours after partial hepatectomy and only 161 .55% after 7 days. In animals treated with B.M. the percentage regeneration of liver in the 24 hours study and 7th day study it was respectively 124.18% and 207.760;0 which have been found to be significant (P < 0.01).

The results of the present study reveal that the aqueous extract of the flowers of B.M. has a definit protective effect against the deleterious effect of CCI4 upon the structure and function of liver as esti mated by various parameters. The pentobarbitone sleeping time measurement which is an important: parameter in assessing the liver function clearly shows that in animals treated concurrently with CCI 4 anc B.M. the duration of sleeping time is almost similar to that of normal control groups, thereby confirming the ability of aqueous extract of B.M. in improving the metabolic function of the liver. The biochemical studies also seems to support the beneficial effect of the B.M. in antoganizing the toxic effect of CCI 4 on liver. While there is no significant change in the levels of total proteins, A/G ratio, serum bilirubin, serum alkaline phosphatase and S.G.P.T. between the normal controls and the ani-mals treated with B.M. alone. the CCI 4 treated animals show a significant reversal in A/G ratio and a sharp increase in the levels 01 serum bilirubin, serum alkaline phosphatase and SGPT. The above CCI 4 induced biochemical changes are effectively antogonised by concurrent administration of B.M. which again confirms the protective ability of B.M. against the hepatotoxic effect of CCI 4.

Apart from this the histopathological studies also confirm the beneficial role of the B.M. in antagonising the deleterious effect of CCI 4 on the histology of the liver. While the CCI 4 treated animals show extensive histological changes, the animals treated with CCI 4 and B.M. concurrently show only a mild to moderate histopathological changes. Effect on partially hepatectomised rats also indicate that B.M. is able to accelerate the process of regeneration of liver and this is one positive indication of the beneficial effect of B.M. Further studies are being carried out to determine the effect of B.M. on mitotic index in partially hepatectomised rats which would give a clear picture as to the effect of the test drug on proliferations of hepatic cells after partial hepatectomy.

Since, the exact mechanism of CCI 4 induced hepatoxicity is not known (l7), it is not possible at present to postulate any precise mode of action by which B.M. confers protection against CCI 4 induced hepatitis. The findings of the present study strongly support the claims of Unani Physi-cians regarding the use of these flowers in the treatment of hepatic disorders. Further, studies are required to identify the active principles in the aqueous extract of Butea monosperma and also to elucidate the precise mechanism by which the extract is able to protect the liver from the toxic effect of CCI 4 and accelerate the regeneration of hepatic cells.