• Azadirachta indica;
  • fertility studies;
  • pregnancy termination

PROBLEM: Development of an orally administered abortifacient.

METHODS: Subjects were female Wistar rats, weighting 150 to 200 g at the time of experiments. Praneem (a purified extract of neem Azadirachta indica) at a dose of 0.6 ml was given orally from day 8 to 10 after confirming presence and number of implants surgically on day 7 of pregnancy. The animals were examined again under anesthesia on day 15 of pregnancy to check the number of developing embryos. Controls received an equivalent regime of peanut oil. The number and size of implants were counted five days after treatment.

RESULTS: Complete resorption of embryos was observed on day 15 of pregnancy in every animal treated with Praneem in contrast to normally developing embryos in rats given peanut oil. In repeat batch experiments, it was established that the effect of the treatment was reversible and animals regained fertility in cycles subsequent to treatment with Praneem. Cytokines of TH1 type, i.e., gamma interferon and TNF, were raised on administration of Praneem, which may be the probable cause of pregnancy termination.

CONCLUSIONS: Praneem on oral adminstration can cause termination of pregnancy in rodents, and the action is probably mediated by TH1 cytokines.