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Evaluating the Abortifacient Capacity of Depo-Provera on Pregnant Wistar Rats

Esomonu UG, Amadi MA, Egwu AO and Odey VE

Evaluating the Abortifacient Capacity of Depo-Provera on Pregnant Wistar Rats

Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is a long acting reversible hormonal contraceptive that is injected every three months. It is marketed under the brand name Depo-Provera and it is believed to have an abortifacient property. The aim therefore was to evaluate the abortifacient capacity of Depo-Provera on Pregnant rats. In the study design, twelve pregnant sexually mature adult female rats with an average weight of 150g were used, they were divided into three groups of four rats; A, B and C respectively. Group A served as the control group. Group B served as the high dose group (200ml/kg), Group C served as the low dose group (100ml/kg). Results showed that all the rats from group A at the end of gestation, gave birth to normal and healthy liters. No mortality was recorded. Histologically, the uterus showed normal endometrial lining with intact epithelial arrangement. The myometrium appeared normal with diverse arrangement of muscle fibers in longitudinal and circular layers. In groups B and C, there was bleeding or spots from the vagina, blood stains around the eyes and mouth were observed, also fetal mortality was recorded with subsequent mortality of the pregnant rats. The epithelial lining of the uterus lost its columnar orientation with distortion of the cilia, thus making it less ciliated. There was also a reduction in mucosal fold. In conclusion, Depo-Provera could be said to be fetotoxic and harmful to pregnant rats because its inability to induce abortion in the pregnant rats led to the eventual death of the rats. These findings suggest that Depo-Provera should not be considered as a conventional abortion therapy in any medical condition where abortion is advised or in societies where abortion is legalized.

Key Words: Depo-Provera, effect, fetus, uterus, wistar rats, fetotoxicity

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