Send to

Choose Destination
J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jan 31;139(2):672-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.12.011. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

The developmental neurobehavioral effects of fenugreek seeds on prenatally exposed mice.

Author information

Laboratory of Pharmacology, Neurobiology and Behavior, Associated Unit to CNRST (URAC-37), Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakech, Morocco.



Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum (L.)), is a medicinal plant whose seeds and leaves are widely used in Moroccan traditional medicine. Consumption of fenugreek seeds during pregnancy has been associated with a range of congenital malformations, including hydrocephalus, anencephaly and spina bifida. In previous work we have shown that exposure of pregnant mice to aqueous extract of fenugreek seeds (AEFS) leads to reduced litter size, intrauterine growth retardation, and malformations. However, there have been no studies to date of its longer-term neurobehavioral effects. We investigated these effects in prenatally exposed mice.


Pregnant females were exposed to 0, 500 or 1000 mg/kg/day AEFS, by gavage, for the whole period of gestation. Pups body weight was measured at 1, 7, 14, 21 and 28 day of age. Behavior of progeny was evaluated three weeks after birth using the open field, the rotarod test and the continuous alternation task by the T-maze. At 28 postnatal day age, brain of progeny was removed and cut for histological evaluation.


The progeny of exposed mice displayed reduced body weight at birth (1000 mg/kg group: 27%; 500 mg/kg group: 32%) and reduced brain weight (10% in both treated groups). Both males and females mice prenatally exposed to AEFS displayed a significant decrease in the locomotor activity, in the boli deposits during the open field test and in motor coordination. These results seem to show that exposure to AEFS induces a depressive effect in the offspring. Assessment on a continuous alternation T-maze test showed a significant reduction in successful spontaneous alternations in males and females but only in the 1000 mg/kg group.


These results suggest that prenatal exposure of mice to high dose of fenugreek seeds causes growth retardation and altered neurobehavioral performance in the post-weaning period in both male and female.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center