Medicago sativa plants are commonly used as green fodder. In this study, estrogen-like activity of ethanolic extract of Medicago sativa plants and its possible effects on serum biochemical metabolites in immature female rats were investigated. Crude extract of dried Medicago sativa plants was prepared in 90% ethanol using Soxhlets apparatus. Fifteen immature female rats were divided into 3 equal groups. Rats of groups A and B were given the extract at the dose of 250 (low) and 500 mg/kg body weight (high), respectively for 22 days. Rats of group C served as untreated controls. After 22 days of treatment, rats were euthanized and blood samples were taken for serum biochemical analysis. Ovarian tissues from these rats were processed for histological studies. The body weight of rats of control group was higher (P<0.05) compared to the rats given low dose of the extract. Mean ovarian weight was higher (P<0.05) in rats of both the treatment groups compared to the control group. Serum estradiol, urea and ALT activity did not differ among rats of the three groups. Serum progesterone concentration was higher in both treatment groups, which was assumed to be due to estrogen-like activity of Medicago sativa that stimulated follicular development and CL formation at an early stage compared to control rats, as seen histologically. Serum total proteins concentration was higher (P<0.05) in rats given high dose than control rats. Serum total cholesterol was the highest in the control group and the lowest in the group A given low dose of the extract (P<0.05). Thus, ethanolic extract of Medicago sativa exhibited estrogen-like activity, increased serum total proteins, decreased total cholesterol and had no adverse effects on liver or kidney functions in immature female rats.
Declaration of interest: There is no conflict of interest that could be perceived as prejudicing the impartiality of the research reported.
Funding: No specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sector.