EFFECT OF HONEY ON JEJUNUM AND PROSTATE SMOOTH MUSCLES OF RABBITS
Conventional chemotherapy has always taken a prominent place in dealing with diseased states; but owing to their various side-effects, natural products that play similar therapeutic roles have become the thrust of much research work. Hence, this study sought to investigate the possible reasons for the use of honey in combating the human male reproductive challenrges. It also investigated the probable cause of colicky pains following ingestion of honey. Phytochemistry showed that the honey had high concentrations of simple reducing sugars, saponins, terpenoids and potassium. Flavonoids, glycosides, resins, proteins, steroids, calcium and vitamin C were in moderate concentrations; alkaloids, acidic compounds and magnesium were in low concentrations while tannins were not detected. A total of twelve (12) male rabbits of between nine and eleven months old with average body weight (b.wt.) of 1.0 ± 0.02 kg and mice (12) of about nine months old and average body weight of 27.1 ± 0.16 g were used. The rabbits were divided into four groups of three each. Group 1 served as control, group 2 rabbits were treated with 2.5 ml/kg b.wt of honey, group 3 rabbits were treated with 5.0ml/kg b.wt of honey, and group 4 rabbits with 7.5 ml/kg b.wt of honey. Treatment lasted for 14 days. The control group received only normal saline and normal rat feed. The activities of smooth muscles of prostate and jejunum of rabbits fed raw honey was compared with those of prostate and jejunum smooth muscles of rabbits that were not given honey. Administration of honey brought about enhanced muscle activity in the jejunum smooth muscle of the experimental rabbits compared with the control. On the administration of acetylcholine (2 µg and 4 µg, w/v) to the muscle segment in student organ bath, the activity was amplified significantly (p<0.05) in group 2 compared with that of the control group. The mid and high doses of honey, 5.0 and 7.5 ml/kg b.wt produced increased cholinergic-elicited contractions compared with the contraction in the control muscle but the low dose, 2.5 ml/kg b.wt produced more appreciable (p<0.05) modified smooth muscle activity. With a threshold dose of adrenaline (20 µg, w/v) in the organ bath, the low honey dose of 2.5 ml/kg b.wt elicited significant (p<0.05) reproducible increase in the adrenergic-induced smooth muscle contraction of the prostate muscle compared with the control. Compared with the control group, the modified smooth muscle contraction also increased significantly (p<0.05) with the mid and high doses, 5.0 and 7.5 ml/kg b.wt in groups 3 and 4 respectively. The serum concentrations of some electrolytes implicated in smooth muscle activity were determined. There was a non-significant (p>0.05) reduction in serum concentrations of zinc and magnesium ions in the test groups relative to the control group. Ca2+ concentration in the serum increased non-significantly (p>0.05) in the test groups when compared with the control group. Serum [K+] increased significantly (p<0.05) in the test group 1 relative to the control group. The variations in the other test groups compared with the control group were not significant (p>0.05). The superoxide dismutase, prostatic specific antigen, prostatic acid phosphatase and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol were non-significantly (p>0.05) reduced in groups 2, 3 and 4 compared with group 1. There were non-significant variations in the levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triacylglycerol in groups 2, 3 and 4 compared with group 1. The findings show that consumption of raw honey in relatively small quantities can modify the behaviour of the smooth muscles, leading to enhanced contractile responses. At low doses, the honey brought about stimulatory effect on the smooth muscles of the jejunum and the prostate of the rabbit. At higher doses, however the honey had inhibitory effect on the smooth muscle. The results show that honey facilitates luminal flow of the prostate fluid. The activation and amplification of the auto-rhythmic activity of jejunum may safely bt.e responsible for the frequent and painful gut movements following honey intake.