Morphological evaluation of the superior colliculus of young Wistar rats following prenatal exposure to Carica papaya leaf extract


Aim: This study was carried out to determine the effects of prenatal administration of Carica papaya on the superior colliculi (SC) of Wistar rats. Materials and Methods: Twenty adult female Wistar rats were mated and randomly assigned to 4 groups, each comprising of 5 rats. The aqueous leaf extract of C. papaya was prepared at a concentration of 100 mg/kg, and administered to rats on days 9 and 10 of gestation (Group A); days 16 and 17 (Group B); and on days 9, 10, 16 and 17 (Group C); while Group D represented the control, and received distilled water throughout gestation. The grouping was designed to represent 2nd gestational week (Group A), 3rd gestational week (Group B), and a combination of 2nd and 3rd gestational week (Group C). After the pregnant rats had littered, the pups were sacrificed on postnatal days 1, 14 and 35. The SCs was identified in the brain specimen and fixed in 10% formol calcium, and the tissue was processed for histological studies using hematoxylin and eosin stains. Results: The leaf extract of C. papaya was associated with low birth weight, changes in growth rate and morphological changes in the histology of SCs, especially in animals exposed during the 3rd week of gestation. Conclusion: The use of C. papaya leaf extract during pregnancy is detrimental to fetal development and can affect the morphology and function of the SCs, with possible neurologic deficits after birth.



Carica papaya, histology, prenatal, superior colliculus