The Efficacy of a Herbal Drug, Schitozim over Praziquantel in the Management of Schistosoma mansoni Infection in BALB/c mice

Lynda A Allan, Helen L. Kutima, Shadrack Muya, Darlene Ayonga, Dorcas Yole


Schistosomiasis is a major public health problem worldwide. Schistosome eggs are responsible for most pathology.  The organs affected are liver and spleen. There has been very little progress on schistosomiasis chemotherapy in Kenya due to the high costs and unavailability of known drugs to the local masses. There has been a resurgence of interest in the study of antischistosomal medicinal plants of local origin. Plants seem to be a cheaper source for drug development. The aim of this study was to compare the efficacy of a herbal drug, Schitozim over Praziquantel in the management of S. mansoni infection in BALB/c mice and to provide defined information of the parasitological and immunological responses towards this herbal drug. BALB/c mouse strains, was used. The experimental groups included; normal/naïve control; infected and not treated control group; infected groups administered with three different doses (50 mg/kg, 150 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg) of Schitozim and infected group administered with one standard dose (900 mg/kg) of Praziquantel. Serum were collected at week 6 post infections and week 2 post treatment and assayed to determine total leukocyte counts, differential counts, blood chemistry parameters and the levels of immunoglobulin G using ELISA kit.  At week 6, perfusion was done to determine worm load.  Data was analysed using SPSS, the data was expressed as mean ± standard error of means. Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was carried out to compare differences between treatment groups while multiple comparisons between the various treatment groups was done using Dunnet Test and Least Significance Difference Test (LSD). Results show that worm count in the groups treated with Schitozim was not significantly different from the number of worms recovered in the group treated with praziquantel. Secondly, Schitozim was able to maintain a normal level of the three tested transaminases. The levels of bilirubin, albumin were also maintained at a normal range in the infected mice treated with Schitozim and Praziquantel. Eosinophil counts were low in number in both Schitozim and Praziquantel treated groups. Lymphocyes, monocytes and neutrophils counts were high in the both groups. SWAP specific IgG response, 0-3hr release protein specific IgG response and SEA specific IgG responses were not significantly different among the Schitozim and Praziquantel treated groups. Phytochemical screening showed that flavonoids, glycosides, saponins, steroids and tannins were present in schitozim aqueous extract. From the information above on worm recovery, populations of leucocytes in serum, levels of ALT, AST, ALP, bilirubin, total protein, and albumin, Schitozim behaves similar to Praziquentel in the management of S. mansoni infection in BALB/c mice. However, further research is needed to determine toxic level of schitozim since all drugs will turn out to be toxic when certain concentration is reached. Other studies which will investigate the levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, High density cholesterol and low density cholesterol on Schitozim treated- S. mansoni infected mice.

Keywords: Schitozim, Praziquantel, Transaminases, Lymphocytes, IgG, Phytochemical screening, BALB/c Mice

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