Effect of Aqueous Extract of Cola Nitida on Normal Development of Distal Gastrointestinal Tract

Anorectal malformations, birth weight, Cola nitida, fetal development, teratogenic effect, hepatotoxicity


  • Bolaji Ojo
    Department of General Studies Unit, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital
November 27, 2020


Normal and abnormal development of anorectum is still up for debate and the etiology of abnormal development of anorectum is poorly understood. Caffeine is a vasoconstrictor that has been implicated in abnormal anorectal development and is a major constituent of Kola nut (Cola nitida). Kola nut is consumed heavily by pregnant women in Nigeria to control vomiting. We examined the teratogenic effects of oral administration of the aqueous extract of Cola nitida (AECON) on fetal growth and development of distal gastrointestinal tract in Wistar rats. Twelve pregnant Wistar rats were used for this study and were divided into the Control group that received distilled water and experimental groups E1, E2 and E3 that received 200mg/kg, 400mg/kg, 600mg/kg of AECON respectively and orally throughout the period of pregnancy. Gross and microscopic examinations of the pups recovered were conducted to observe the various external and internal congenital malformations in the different groups. Recorded data were analysed using one-way ANOVA followed by Dunnette test. Values were considered statistically significant at p<0.05. There was a progressive reduction in the number of litters with increasing dosage of AECON in the experimental groups. Also, the weight of the pups in the experimental groups were reduced in comparison with the control group. None of the pups in all the groups had anorectal malformations or other associated congenital anomalies. Histopathological and biochemical changes were evident following administration of the extract. Based on the result of the study, oral administration of AECON during pregnancy does not have teratogenic effect on the rats but has adverse effects on fetal development and also affected biomarkers of liver damage. Therefore, the safety of the extract during pregnancy cannot be assured.