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Open Access Research article

Anti-ulcerogenic activity of the root bark extract of the African laburnum “Cassia sieberiana” and its effect on the anti-oxidant defence system in rats

Edmund T Nartey1*, Mark Ofosuhene2 and Caleb M Agbale3

Author affiliations

1 Centre for Tropical Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, University of Ghana Medical School, P.O. Box GP 4236, Accra, Ghana

2 Department of Clinical Pathology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, P. O. Box LG 581, Legon, Ghana

3 Department of Biochemistry, School of Biological Sciences, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana

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Citation and License

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:247  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-247

Published: 10 December 2012



Despite the widespread use of roots of Cassia sieberiana in managing several health conditions including gastric ulcer disease, there is little scientific data to support the rational phytotherapeutics as an anti-ulcer agent. This paper reports an evaluation of the in vivo anti-oxidant properties of an aqueous root bark extract of C. sieberiana in experimental gastric ulcer rats in a bid to elucidate its mechanism of action.


Fisher 344 (F344) rats received pretreatment of C. sieberiana root bark extract (500, 750, and 1000 mg/kg body wt.) for 7 days after which there was induction of gastric injury with absolute ethanol. The mean ulcer index (MUI) was calculated and serum total anti-oxidant level determined. Gastric mucosal tissues were prepared and the activity level of the enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) were measured together with the level of lipid hydroperoxides (LPO). Statistical difference between treatment groups was analysed using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) followed by Dunnett’s post hoc t test. Statistical significance was calculated at P< 0.05.


The administration of ethanol triggered severe acute gastric ulcer and pretreatment with C. sieberiana root bark extract significantly and dose dependently protected against this effect. The root bark extract also dose dependently and significantly inhibited the ethanol induced decrease in activity levels of the enzymes SOD, CAT and GPx. The extract also inhibited the ethanol-induced decrease in level of serum total anti-oxidant capacity. The increase in ethanol-induced LPO level and MPO activity were also significantly and dose-dependently inhibited by the root bark extract.


The gastro-cytoprotective effect, inhibition of decrease in activity of gastric anti-oxidant enzymes and MPO as well as the inhibition of gastric LPO level suggests that one of the anti-ulcer mechanisms of C. sieberiana is the anti-oxidant property.

Gastric ulcer; Cassia sieberiana; Superoxide dismutase; Catalase; Glutathione peroxidase; Lipid hydroperoxide; Myeloperoxidase