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J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Mar 2;128(1):85-91. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2009.12.029. Epub 2009 Dec 28.

Delayed ossification in Wistar rats induced by Morinda citrifolia L. exposure during pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Federal University of ParanĂ¡, PO Box 19031, CEP 81531-990 Curitiba, Brazil.


Different products of plant Morinda citrifolia L. (noni) have been marketed and used around the world based on properties described by Polynesian people that use them for more than 2000 years. Marketing of these products is based on their presumptive phytotherapic properties. However there is little scientific evidence about their safety, especially when used during pregnancy.


Evaluate the possible developmental toxicity of the noni fruit aqueous extract and commercial product of TAHITIAN NONI juice in rats exposed during pregnancy.


Pregnant Wistar rats were exposed by gavage to 7, 30 and 300 mg/kg bw (body weight) of noni aqueous extract or to 0.4, 2 and 20 mL/kg bw (body weight) of noni juice between day 7 and day 15 of pregnancy. Caesarean sections were performed on day 20 of pregnancy and reproductive parameters were evaluated. Implantations sites and postimplantation losses were recorded. Fetuses were weighted and examined for externally visible anomalies. After, the fetuses were cleared with KOH and the bones stained with alizarin red. Skeletal alterations of the skull, vertebral column, ribs, forelimbs, hindlimbs, sternum, sings of delayed ossification and variations were examined in accordance with pre-defined criteria and identified using harmonized and internationally accepted nomenclature recommended by the International Federation of Teratology Societies.


Exposure with extract and juice of Morinda citrifolia did not induce maternal toxicity at the tested doses, but induced delayed ossification in fetuses.


The exposure of pregnant rats to aqueous extract or juice Morinda citrifolia during organogenesis period may induce adverse effects on the normal development of fetuses. These findings indicate the need for further studies with noni derivates preceding their use in pregnant women.

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