The acute and sub-acute toxic effects of various doses of hydroalcoholic extract of Alstonia scholaris (ASE) was studied in mice and rats. The acute toxicity in mice depended on the season of collection of plant. The highest acute toxicity was observed in the ASE prepared from the summer collection followed by winter. The least toxicity was observed in the extract prepared from the bark of A. scholaris collected in the monsoon season. The administration of different doses of ASE showed a dose dependent increase in the toxicity in all species of mice. The Swiss albino mice were found to be the most sensitive followed by the DBA and C57BL. The crossbred mice were resistant when compared to the pure inbred strains. The oral administration of ASE was non-toxic up to a dose of 2000 mg/kg b. wt., while maximum number of animals succumbed to death after administration of 1100 mg/kg ASE by intraperitoneal route. The rats were more sensitive than the mice as the LD50 dose of ASE was lesser for the former than the latter. The sub-acute toxicity in the rats was carried out with 120 and 240 mg/kg b. wt. ASE (1/10th and 1/5th of the LD50 dose of ASE). The 240 mg was observed to be more toxic than 120 mg/kg ASE since it caused mortality and deformity in various organs of the recipient animals. The various biochemical parameters like AST, ALT, ACP, ALP, CK, LDH, creatinine, urea, ammonia, glucose and LPx were higher at 240 mg/kg ASE when compared with the 120 mg and the non-drug treated animals. In contrast, the total protein, albumin, DNA, RNA, cholesterol, glucose, glutathione, total thiols declined in the 240 mg/kg ASE treated animals when compared with non-drug treated controls. The hematological analysis showed a dose dependent decrease in the RBC, WBC, hemoglobin, neutrophils and monocytes, while a significant increase in the lymphocytes, eosinophils and basophils was observed. The observed toxic effect of ASE may be due to the presence of echitamine. Our studies shows that at high doses, A. scholaris exhibited marked damage to all the major organs of the body.
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