Toxicological Assessment of Methanolic Fruit Extract of Zanthoxylum acanthopodium DC. in Swiss Albino Mice: Acute and Sub-acute Toxicity Study


  • North-Eastern Hill University, Department of Zoology, Shillong, Meghalaya, 793022, India


Zanthoxylum acanthopodium DC. is widely used in traditional plant-based medical practices in India, with different parts of this plant used to treat a variety of ailments. Though this has been a time-tested practice, the side effects and other implications that the plant may have should not be overlooked. This study evaluated the toxicity of the methanolic fruit extract of Z. acanthopodium in Swiss albino mice by conducting acute and sub-acute toxicity tests using hematological, biochemical, ultrastructural analysis, sperm abnormality, and genotoxicity as parameters. For the acute toxicity test, mice were treated with a single dose of 5000 mg extract/kg bw of mice. While for sub-acute toxicity test, doses of 200, 500, and 1000 mg of the extract/kg bw were administered to the mice. Furthermore, a satellite group of the respective control group and the highest dose group were employed to observe the post-treatment effect that the plant may have. The acute toxicity test resulted in a significant reduction of the mean body weight gain in treated mice, but, no signs of morbidity and mortality were recorded. Sub-acute toxicity test revealed a negative effect of the plant extract on the blood and biochemical parameters. Light and electron microscopic examination of the liver and kidney showed the damaging effects of the extract on the tissues and the cellular structures. In addition, the extract induced sperm abnormalities with a significant reduction of sperm count and sperm viability, and caused an increase in the percentage of abnormally shaped sperms. The extract treatment also resulted in an increased frequency of chromosomal aberrations as well as cell death.


Apoptosis, Biochemistry, Chromosomal Aberrations, Hematology, Sperm Abnormality, Ultrastructure, Zanthoxylum acanthopodium

Subject Discipline

Zoology; Toxicology

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