Estrogenic and cholinergic properties of the methanol extract of Ruellia praetermissa Sceinf. ex. Lindau (Acanthaceae) in female rats.
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In search for alternative drugs with pharmacological profile to replace hormone replacement therapy, the effects of MeOH extract of Ruellia praetermissa on the uterus and gestation in rats was investigated. 350 mg/kg/day of extract from days 1-9, 1-17 and 9-17 respectively, resulted in increase of the number of implantation sites (56 to 64) and the percentage of implantation (68.6 +/- 2.7 to 90.5 +/- 0.5%). There was also an increase in body weight (1-9 and 1-17) followed by a slight decrease (154 +/- 15.5 to 125 +/- 10) in the body weight at term. The number and the mean value of corpora lutea per female decreased from 25.4 +/- 1.6 to 14.00 +/- 1.6. The extract produced dose-related contraction of the isolated uterine muscle in vitro comparable to ACh. Atropine in doses from 3.4 x 10(-6) to 3 x 10(-3) microM antagonized the response of the uterus to ACh at 2 microM. It induced an increase (0.03 +/- 0.002 to 0.34 +/- 0.001 g) of the uterine weight comparable to that produced by using 3 microM estradiol (0.03 +/- 0.001 to 0.35 +/- 0.005 g). It could therefore be postulated that this extract possesses estrogenic and possible cholinergic effects. The estrogenic effect could have been generated by plant sterols (beta-sitosterol and stigmasterol) and flavonoids (luteolin and apigenin) while cholinergic effect could be due to iridoid glycosides.