Background and Aim: Intoxication of arsenic in rats is known to result in neurological effects as well as liver and kidney dysfunction. Mucuna pruriens has been identified for its medicinal properties. The aim of the study was to investigate the protective effect of aqueous seed extract of M. pruriens on sodium arsenite-induced memory impairment, liver, and kidney functions in rats. Materials and Methods: The experiment was divided into short-term treatment (45 days) and long-term treatment (90 days), with each group divided into nine sub-groups consisting of six animals each. Sub-groups 1 and 2 served as normal, and N-acetylcysteine (NAC) controls, respectively. Sub-groups 3-9 received sodium arsenite in drinking water (50 mg/L). In addition, sub-group 4 received NAC (210 mg/kg b.wt) orally once daily, sub-groups 5-7 received aqueous seed extract of M. pruriens (350 mg/kg b.wt, 530 mg/kg b.wt, and 700 mg/kg b.wt) orally once daily and sub-groups 8 and 9 received a combination of NAC and aqueous seed extract of M. pruriens (350 mg/kg b.wt and 530 mg/kg b.wt) orally once daily. Following the treatment, the blood was drawn retro-orbitally to assess the liver (serum alanine transaminase [ALT], serum aspartate transaminase, and serum alkaline phosphatase) and kidney (serum urea and serum creatinine) functions. Learning and memory were assessed by passive avoidance test. Animals were sacrificed by an overdose of ketamine, and their Nissl stained hippocampal sections were analyzed for alterations in neural cell numbers in CA1 and CA3 regions. Results: In the short-term treatment, groups administered with M. pruriens 530 mg/kg b.wt alone and combination of NAC + M. pruriens 350 mg/kg b.wt exhibited a significant improvement in memory retention, less severe neurodegeneration, and decrease in serum ALT levels. In long-term treatment, groups administered with M. pruriens 700 mg/kg b.wt alone and combination of NAC+M. pruriens 350 mg/kg b.wt, respectively, showed better memory retention, decreased neural deficits, and reduced levels of kidney and liver enzymes. Conclusion: The seed extract of M. pruriens showed significant enhancement in memory and learning. The number of surviving neurons in the CA1 and CA3 regions also increased on treatment with M. pruriens. Serum ALT, serum urea, and serum creatinine levels showed significant improvement on long-term treatment with M. pruriens.
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