Toxic effect of aqueous extract of Ruta graveolens from the North of Mexico on the liver of Wistar rat

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Luis B. Serrano-Gallardo; Adolfo Soto-Domínguez; Pablo Ruiz-Flores; Martha P. Nava-Hernández; Javier Morán-Martínez; Rubén García-Garza & Edith F. Martínez-Pérez


In traditional medicine, beneficial properties are attributed to Ruta graveolens, but it has been shown that it can also cause side effects. Because there is no evidence that ratifies that R. graveolens is totally harmless. The aim of this study was to determine the toxic effect of aqueous extract of the leaves of this plant in rat liver. 25 Wistar rats were used and divided into 5 groups (n = 5). Group 1 corresponded to the negative control group; group 2 or positive control was treated with 100 mg of dexamethasone/kg/day. Groups 3 and 4 were treated with 30 and 100 mg of extract of R. graveolens respectively. Group 5 was treated with 100 mg dexamethasone/ kg/ day in combination with 100 mg of extract of R. graveolens/kg/day. Administrations were performed intraperitoneally for three days. All animals were sacrificed by cervical dislocation. Liver samples were fixed in formalin and then embedded in paraffin. Histological sections were obtained from 5 microns thick and stained with hematoxylin-eosin for histological evaluation by light microscopy. The results demonstrate for the first time that exposure to aqueous extract of R. graveolens induces morphological changes in the liver of Wistar rats. These alterations were observed slightly in group 3. Alterations increased in group 4. Highest damage was observed in group 5. The aqueous extract of R. graveolens was toxic; furthermore additional studies are needed to characterize other toxicological effects that support the risk of use of R. graveolens in traditional medicine in a long term.

KEY WORDS: Ruta graveolens; Aqueous extract; Liver toxicity; Wistar rats

How to cite this article

SERRANO-GALLARDO, L. B.; SOTO-DOMÍNGUEZ, A.; RUIZ-FLORES, P.; NAVA-HERNÁNDEZ, M. P.; MORÁN- MARTÍNEZ, J.; GARCÍA-GARZA, R. & MARTÍNEZ-PÉREZ, E. F. Efecto tóxico del extracto acuoso de Ruta graveolens del Norte de México sobre el hígado de rata wistar. Int. J. Morphol., 31(3):1041-1048, 2013.