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An investigation into the radioprotective potential of Costus afer and Drymaria cordata extracts on whole-body irradiated mice.

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The need for effective and non-toxic radioprotectors has shifted researchers' attention to plants and natural products as an alternative to synthetic compounds. This study investigated the radioprotective potential of Costus afer (CAE) and Drymaria cordata (DC) extracts on mice's survival, haematological and histopathological parameters following X-ray irradiation. One hundred and fourteen (54 male & 60 female) mice with total body masses between 38-45g and aged between 10-12 weeks old were used for this study. The mice were divided into twelve groups containing six and ten mice, respectively, for experiments CAE and DC. Animals were further sub-divided into irradiated and un-irradiated groups. The animals in both experiments received 250mg/kg extract of CAE and DC by oral gavage for six days and thirteen days, respectively, in addition to feeding and water ad libitum. Exposure of mice to radiation was done at the Radiotherapy and Oncology Department, Grey's Hospital using a linear accelerator. Blood samples were collected at different time intervals for the haematology test. Harvesting of kidney and liver for histopathology examination also occurred. Post-irradiation monitoring then continued for 30 days. Data were analysed by a one-way ANOVA test, followed by Tukey's multiple comparison test. Our findings revealed that the mice irradiated with 3Gy, 4Gy, 6Gy and 8Gy doses of X-ray radiation experienced a significant reduction in their White Blood Cell, Packed Cell Volume, Haemoglobin, Neutrophils, Lymphocytes, Eosinophils, and Platelet counts when compared with the control group in both experiments. In both experiments, CAE and DC extract offered protection against the radiation-induced haematological alterations by elevating all the blood parameters, except red blood cells and monocyte in the CAE treatment groups. In addition, the pre-treatment of mice with DC delayed the onset of mortality, thereby increasing the mice's survival rate. Histopathological changes in the CAE treatment groups' kidney and liver sections revealed no visible lesion in the pre-treated mice. Hepatocytes seem to be within normal histological limits. Although it is evident that the CAE and DC extracts protect against radiation-induced haematological damage and increases survival rate, no significant improvement in the histopathological parameters was recorded. Thus, further research is needed to prove the CAE and DC radioprotective potential on histopathological variables.


Doctoral Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg.