Subscribe Now Subscribe Today
Fulltext PDF
Research Article
Ethanolic Extract of Psidium guajava Influences Protein and Bilirubin Levels in Trypanosoma brucei brucei Infected Rats

O.S. Adeyemi, M.A. Akanji and J.T. Ekanem

Previous report from our laboratory demonstrated the activity of ethanolic extract of Psidium guajava leaf against bloodstream forms of trypanosomes in an experimental infection. The present study investigated the mitigating effects of P. guajava leaf extract on Trypanosoma brucei brucei-induced changes in rat serum and tissue total protein, albumin, globulin, unconjugated bilirubin and total bilirubin. Our data revealed that trypanosome infection caused a rise in protein and globulin concentrations but reduced albumin concentrations were observed (p<0.05). There was also a significant increase in the serum and tissue bilirubin concentrations of the infected animals. In contrast, however, these biochemical alteration were less severe (p<0.05) in the treated group relative to the untreated counterparts. The data suggest the capacity of the ethanolic extract of P. guajava in downplaying the severity of the conditions usually associated with trypanosome infections.

Related Articles in ASCI
Similar Articles in this Journal
Search in Google Scholar
View Citation
Report Citation

  How to cite this article:

O.S. Adeyemi, M.A. Akanji and J.T. Ekanem, 2012. Ethanolic Extract of Psidium guajava Influences Protein and Bilirubin Levels in Trypanosoma brucei brucei Infected Rats. Journal of Biological Sciences, 12: 111-116.

DOI: 10.3923/jbs.2012.111.116

Received: November 23, 2011; Accepted: January 05, 2012; Published: March 13, 2012


African trypanosomosis is a disease caused by Trypanosoma brucei species for which both humans and animals stand the risk of epidemic (Chretien and Smoak, 2005). Chemotherapy is one of the major means of controlling the disease but currently the four drugs (pentamidine, suramin, melarsoprol and eflornithine) that are available for treatment of African trypanosomosis are beset with challenges of severe toxicity and increasing incidence of trypanosome resistance. This situation highlights the need to develop newer and safer trypanocides (Fairlamb, 2003; Ekanem and Yusuf, 2008) by exploring efficacious chemotherapeutic agents from locally available ethnomedicinal plants. P. guajava is a tropical plant belonging to the family Myrtaceae and has been used for a number of traditional medicine applications (Hawrelak, 2003; Gutierrez et al., 2008). Available scientific evidence revealed that P. guajava, plant has a long history of traditional use for several diseases as well as for consumption for its great taste and nutritional benefits (Kamath et al., 2008). Phytochemical screening revealed that P. guajava leaf extract is rich in flavonoids and tannins amongst others. Examples of phytochemicals isolated from the P. guajava plants include quercetin, guajaverin, flavonoids and galactose-specific lecithins which have shown promising activity in many human trials (Abdelrahim et al., 2002). The leaves and bark of P. guajava tree have a long history of medicinal uses which may still be relevant today. In a study by Nwinyi et al. (2008), P. guajava extract was implicated as a potential anti-diarrheal, antihypertensive, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, antimicrobial, hypoglycemic and antimutagenic agent.

Furtherance to evidence of anti-trypanosoma activity shown by the leaf extract of P. guajava (Adeyemi et al., 2009), this study was designed to investigate the mitigating capacity of P. guajava leaf extract at a therapeutic dosage of 150 mg kg-1 body weight (Adeyemi et al., 2009) against T. b. brucei induced biochemical alterations in rats.


Plant materials: Fresh samples of Psidium guajava (guava) leaves were collected from a local farm in Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria. The leaves were identified and authenticated at the Herbarium Unit of the Department of Plant Biology, University of Ilorin, Nigeria.

Leaf extract preparation: The ethanolic extract of the plant was prepared according to the method described by Vieira et al. (2001) and modified by Akanji et al. (2009). Fresh samples of P. guajava leaves were air dried and ground. The ground sample weighing 200 g was soaked in 80% (v/v) ethanol and left for 24 h. The mixture was filtered using Whatman No. 1 filter paper and the filtrate concentrated in vacuo. The concentrate was then evaporated to dryness at 40°C to obtain a dry sample matter which was subsequently used to prepare the ethanolic extract in distilled water prior to intraperitoneal administration to rats. The percentage yield was 2.45%.

Parasite: T. b. brucei was obtained from the Veterinary and Livestock Studies Department, Nigerian Institute for Trypanosome Research (NITR) Vom Jos, Nigeria. The parasite was injected intraperitoneally into rats and maintained by repeated passaging into other rats.

Animal grouping/treatment: Ten week old Wistar rats weighing between 200-220 g were obtained from the Animal Holding Unit of the Department of Biochemistry, University of Ilorin, Nigeria. The rats were kept in well-ventilated house conditions with free access to normal rat pellets (Bendel Feeds and Flour Mills, Ltd., Ewu, Nigeria) and clean water. The rats were randomly distributed into three 3 groups of twenty rats each. Rats in group A were not infected with T. b. brucei and were not administered P. guajava extract. Those in group B were infected with T. b. brucei but were not administered with ethanolic extract of P. guajava. Rats in group C were infected with T. b. brucei and were administered with 150 mg kg-1 body weight of the ethanolic extract. Five rats were sacrificed from each group on days 1, 3, 5 and 7, respectively (Adeyemi et al., 2009).

All experiments conform to guidelines governing the handling of laboratory animals as laid out by the University of Ilorin Committee on Ethics for Scientific and Medical Research.

Inoculation of rats with parasite: Parasite infected blood was obtained from the tail of infected rats at high parasitaemia and used to maintain parasite suspension in 0.90% saline solution which was inoculated into the peritoneal cavity of uninfected rats weighing approximately between 200-220 g. The suspension was as described by Adeyemi et al. (2009) contained 3 or 4 trypanosome per view at x100 magnification.

Tissue collection and preparation: Rats were anaesthetized in slight chloroform and blood samples collected into clean, dry centrifuge tubes by cardiac puncture. Blood samples were allowed to stand for 10 min at room temperature and then centrifuged at 1000 g for 15 min using a laboratory centrifuge (SM 800B, Surgifriend Medicals, England) and the serum carefully separated and kept frozen until needed. The tissues (liver, kidney and brain) were excised, cleansed of superficial connective tissues and then transferred into ice-cold 0.25 M sucrose solution. These were blotted with clean tissue paper and weighed. The tissues were homogenized in ice-cold 0.25 M sucrose solution (1:5 w/v) using Teflon homogenizer. The homogenates were kept frozen until required for further analyses.

Biochemical determinations: Serum and tissue total protein and albumin levels were determined using commercially available test kits, products of Randox laboratories, UK. The manufacturers instructions were strictly adhered to Serum globulin was estimated as the difference between serum total protein and albumin. Total bilirubin and direct bilirubin were determined according to the method of Jendrassik and Grof (1938) using Randox diagnostic reagent kit.

Statistical analysis: The group Mean±SEM was determined and difference between means evaluated by analysis of variance (ANOVA). Post test analysis was carried out using the Tukey’s multiple comparison tests. Values at p<0.05 were considered as statistically significant.


This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of the ethanolic extract of P. guajava leaf to modulate some trypanosome associated lesions in rats. The ethanolic extract was administered to the rats daily in an experiment that lasted for seven days. Protein, albumin, globulin and bilirubin concentrations were used as indicators for assessment. Results obtained for albumin concentrations in the brain showed no significant differences (p>0.05). Significant change was observed for albumin concentrations in the kidney, liver and serum of the infected animals relative to other groups (p<0.05) (Table 1). Globulin and protein concentrations were significantly increased in the tissues and serum of infected groups compared to the uninfected control and infected and treated groups (p<0.05) (Table 2 and 3, respectively). Likewise, the infection also induced an increase in the concentrations of unconjugated bilirubin in the infected groups relative to the other groups. Also a significant change was observed for total bilirubin in the infected animals relative to the other groups (p<0.05) (Table 4, 5).

Table 1: Effects of Psidium guajava leaf extract on albumin changes induced by T. b. brucei in rats
*Values are mean of 5 determinations±SEM, values with different superscripts differ significantly (p<0.05). *Significantly different from the control at p<0.05, **Significantly different from the control and infection at p<0.05, ***Significantly different from the control, infection and treatment at p<0.05

Table 2: Effects of Psidium guajava leaf extract on globulin changes induced by T. b. brucei in rats
*Values are mean of 5 determinations±SEM, values with different superscripts differ significantly (p<0.05). *Significantly different from the control at p<0.05, **Significantly different from the control and infection at p<0.05, ***Significantly different from the control, infection and treatment at p<0.05

Table 3: Effects of Psidium guajava leaf extract on protein changes induced by T. b. brucei in rats
*Values are mean of 5 determinations±SEM, values with different superscripts differ significantly (p<0.05). *Significantly different from the control at p<0.05, **Significantly different from the control and infection at p<0.05, ***Significantly different from the control, infection and treatment at p<0.05

Evaluating body fluids could give an indication of the functional state of the various body organs. According to Awobode (2006), biochemical changes in body fluids resulting from infections are dependent on the species of the parasite and its virulence. The results for total protein, albumin and globulin levels are presented in Table 1-3. Infection by trypanosomes caused significant increases in total protein and globulin (p<0.05) relative to controls.

Table 4: Effects of Psidium guajava leaf extract on direct bilirubin changes induced by T. b. brucei in rats
*Values are mean of 5 determinations±SEM, values with different superscripts differ significantly (p<0.05), *Significantly different from the control at p<0.05, **Significantly different from the control and infection at p<0.05, ***Significantly different from the control, infection and treatment at p<0.05

Table 5: Effects of Psidium guajava leaf extract on total bilirubin changes induced by T. b. brucei in rats
*Values are mean of 5 determinations±SEM, values with different superscripts differ significantly (p<0.05), *Significantly different from the control at p<0.05, **Significantly different from the control and infection at p<0.05, ***Significantly different from the control and infection and treatment at p<0.05

The increase in serum total protein could be as a result of increased release of tissue specific enzymes and other intracellular proteins consequent upon parasite-induced cell membrane disruption (Kennedy, 2004; Orhue et al., 2005). Release of erythrocytes-derived enzymes and proteins following lysis of erythrocyte membrane by parasites may be another possible source of plasma protein. Several studies have demonstrated that the destruction of red blood cells which usually correlate with anaemia is a common presentation in T. b. brucei infection involving mammals (Anosa and Kaneko, 1983; Anosa, 1988; Igbokwe and Mohammed, 1992; Egbe-Nwiyi and Antia, 1993; Igbokwe et al., 1994, 1998; Omotainse and Anosa, 1995). Other reasons for high total protein in the infected group could be ascribed to increased mass of parasite proteins resulting from progressive infection or possibly increases in parasite derived intracellular enzymes and proteins as the parasites are lysed by the host immune system. Secretion of globulin in response to active infection would no doubt have contributed immensely to the observed total protein increases. Serum albumin was significantly decreased for infected animals relative to uninfected controls (p<0.05) although, there were increases in albumin levels of the liver, kidney and the brain relative to control (p<0.05). Decreased protein synthesis by the liver resulting from assault by infection could be responsible for drop in serum albumin level, alternatively increased protein loss through the gut or the kidney may be responsible. Also decrease in albumin levels may be due to malabsorption and increased protein need secondary to infection (Guyton and Hall, 2000). Albumin levels suggest that the tissues of the infected animals could have been damaged following infection by T. b. brucei. Decrease in albumin has been observed in serum of patients with tissue inflammation and damages (Gabay and Kushner, 1999). There have been reports of decreased plasma albumin concentrations in several trypanosome infections (Anosa, 1988) which demonstrated strong link to either plasma expansion, proteinuria or hepatocellular damage (Tijani et al., 2009). The significant higher concentrations of direct bilirubin with growing infection suggest that there could be an acute haemolysis resulting from the activity of proliferating parasites and this agree with previous reports (Igbokwe, 1994; Orhue et al., 2005). Further, inconsistent changes were observed for total bilirubin concentration in the tissues and serum (Table 5) as the infection progressed. The high values of serum bilirubin could also be attributed to the gradual inability of the liver to effectively conjugate the bilirubin in circulation. Treatment with ethanolic extract of P. guajava resulted in significant reduction in parasite induced biochemical changes evidenced in decreased protein, globulin and bilirubin levels. Although the extract treatment did not achieve complete restoration of the selected biochemical indices to pre-infection state, results revealed significantly (p<0.05) reduced infection-induced alterations in the treated group relative to the untreated group. The ability of the administered extract to reduce these biochemical alterations may not be unconnected with the presence of phytochemicals like flavonoids and tannins reported elsewhere (Adeyemi et al., 2009; Akanji et al., 2009) as having diverse bioactivities including anti-trypanosomal and antioxidant properties. Infections with T. b. brucei may have generated reactive oxygen species with subsequent deleterious effects on cell membrane. The administered ethanolic extract acting as antioxidants could have scavenged these radicals and thus reduced damage to cellular components. Previous reports have attributed the anti-trypanosomal properties of P. guajava plant extract to the presence of tannins and/or flavonoids possibly because of their iron chelating properties (Adeyemi et al., 2009). It is probable that the extract reduced parasitaemia which subsequently led to decreased lesions observed in the treated animals. Severity of infection in trypanosomosis had been shown to correlate with parasitaemia (Ekanem et al., 2006; Adeyemi et al., 2009).


Present study showed that the ethanolic extract of P. guajava leaf reduced the severity of trypanosome associated alterations in the treated infected rats relative to their untreated counterparts. This suggests that extracts of P. guajava is a potential source of bioactive components which could be explored in the development of phytomedicine against African sleeping sickness. Our results warrant further chemical elucidation and biological profiling.

Abdelrahim, S.I., A.Z. Almagboul, M.E. Omer and A. Elegami, 2002. Antimicrobial activity of Psidium guajava L. Fitoterapia, 73: 713-715.
CrossRef  |  Direct Link  |  

Adeyemi, O.S., M.A. Akanji and S.A. Oguntoye, 2009. Ethanolic leaf extract of Psidium guajava: Phyto-chemical and trypanocidal activity in rats infected with Trypanosoma brucei brucei. J. Med. Plant Res., 3: 420-423.
Direct Link  |  

Akanji, M.A., O.S. Adeyemi, S.O. Oguntoye and F. Sulyman, 2009. Psidium guajava extract reduces trypanosomosis associated lipid peroxidation and raises glutathione concentrations in infected animals. EXCLI J., 8: 148-154.
Direct Link  |  

Anosa, V.O. and J.J. Kaneko, 1983. Pathogenesis of Trypanosoma brucei infection in deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus): Hematologic, erythrocyte, biochemical and Iron metabolic aspects. Am. J. Vet. Res., 44: 639-644.
PubMed  |  

Anosa, V.O., 1988. Haematological and biochemical changes in human and animal trypanosomiasis Part 1. Rev. Elev. Med. Vet. Pays Trop., 41: 65-78.
PubMed  |  

Awobode, H.O., 2006. The biochemical changes induced by natural human African trypanosome infections. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 5: 738-742.
Direct Link  |  

Chretien, J.P. and B.L. Smoak, 2005. African Trypanosomiasis: Changing epidemiology and consequences. Curr. Infect. Dis. Rep., 7: 54-60.
PubMed  |  

Egbe-Nwiyi, T.N. and R.E. Antia, 1993. The effect of trypanocidal drug treatment on the haematological changes in Trypanosoma brucei brucei infected splenectomised dogs. Vet. Parasitol., 50: 23-33.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  

Ekanem, J.T. and O.K. Yusuf, 2008. Some biochemical and haematological effects of black seed (Nigella sativa) oil on T. brucei-infected rats. Afr. J. Biomed. Res., 11: 79-85.
Direct Link  |  

Ekanem, J.T., O.R. Mojolagbe, F.A. Sulaiman and N.O. Muhammad, 2006. Effects of honey supplemented diet on the parasitaemia and some enzymes of Trypanosoma brucei infected rats. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 5: 1557-1561.
Direct Link  |  

Fairlamb, A.H., 2003. Chemotherapy of human African trypanosomiasis: current and future prospects. Trends Parasitol., 19: 488-494.
PubMed  |  

Gabay, C. and I. Kushner, 1999. Acute-phase proteins and other systemic responses to inflammation. N. Engl. J. Med., 340: 448-454.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

Gutierrez, R.M.P., S. Mitchell and R.V. Solis, 2008. Psidium guajava: A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. J. Ethnopharmacol., 117: 1-27.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

Guyton, A.C. and J.E. Hall, 2000. A textbook of Medical Physiology. 10th Edn., W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, PA., pp: 382-401.

Hawrelak, J., 2003. Medicinal herb monograph: Guava (Psidium guajava). J. Aust. Tradit. Med. Soc., 9: 25-29.
Direct Link  |  

Igbokwe, I.O. and A. Mohammed, 1992. Some plasma biochemical changes in experimental Trypanosoma brucei infection of Sokoto red goats. Rev. Elev. Med. Vet. Pays Trop., 45: 287-290.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

Igbokwe, I.O., 1994. Mechanisms of cellular injury in African trypanosomiasis. Vet. Bull., 64: 611-620.

Igbokwe, I.O., K.A. Esievo, D.I. Saror and O.K. Obagaiye, 1994. Increased susceptibility of erythrocytes to in vitro peroxidation in acute Trypanosoma brucei infection in mice. Vet. Parasitol., 55: 279-286.
PubMed  |  

Igbokwe, I.O., S. Isa, U.K. Aliyu, H.G. Hamza and T. Egbe-Nwiyi, 1998. Increased severity of acute Trypanosoma brucei brucei infection in rats with alloxan induced diabetes. Vet. Res., 29: 573-578.
PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

Jendrassik, L. and P. Grof, 1938. Vereinfachte photometrische methoden zur bestimmung des blutbilirubins. Biochemische Zeutschrift, 297: 82-89.

Kamath, J.V., N. Rahul, C.K. Ashok Kumar and S.M. Lakshmi, 2008. Psidium guajava: A review. Int. J. Green Pharm., 2: 9-12.

Kennedy, P.G.E., 2004. Human African trypanosomosis of the CNS: Current issues and challenges. J. Clin. Invest., 113: 496-504.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

Nwinyi, O.C., N.S. Chinedu and O.O. Ajani, 2008. Evaluation of antibacterial activity of Pisidium guajava and Gongronema latifolium. J. Med. Plants Res., 2: 189-192.
Direct Link  |  

Omotainse, S.O. and V.O. Anosa, 1995. Leucocyte and thrombocyte response in dogs experimentally infected with Trypanosoma brucei. Rev. Elev. Med. Vet. Pays. Trop., 48: 254-258.
Direct Link  |  

Orhue, N.E.J., E.A.C. Nwanze and A. Okafor, 2005. Serum total protein, albumin and globulin levels in Trypanosoma brucei-infected rabbits: Effect of orally administered Scoparia dulcis. Afr. J. Biotechnol., 4: 1152-1155.
Direct Link  |  

Tijani, A.Y., M.O. Uguru, O.A. Salawu, A. Abubakar, N.O. Onyekwelu and J.A. Akingbasote, 2009. Effect of Faidherbia albida on some biochemical parameters of rats infected with Trypanosoma brucei brucei. Afr. J. Pharmacy Pharmacol., 3: 26-30.
Direct Link  |  

Vieira, R.H.S.D., F.D.D.P. Rodrigues, F.A. Goncalves, F.G.R. de Menezes, J.S. Aragao and O.V. Sousa, 2001. Microbicidal effect of medicinal plant extracts (Psidium guajava Linn. and Carica papaya Linn.) upon bacteria isolated from fish muscle and known to induce diarrhea in children. Rev. Inst. Med. Trop. S. Paulo, 43: 145-148.
CrossRef  |  PubMed  |  Direct Link  |  

©  2018 Science Alert. All Rights Reserved
Fulltext PDF References Abstract