Umoren EB, Obembe AO, Odo MO and Osim EE
Background: Nevirapine is an antiretroviral medication that prevents human immunodeficiency virus cells from multiplying in the blood. This study was undertaken to ascertain whether nevirapine administration affects bile secretion in albino Wistar rats. Methods: Male and female albino Wistar rats (n=20, 50-125 g body weight) at the start of the experiment were used for the study. Rats in the control group (n=10) were administered normal saline (0.4 mg/kg body weight) + normal rodent chow, whereas the nevirapine group (n=10) were fed by gavage nevirapine (0.4 mg/kg body weight) two times daily (07:00 h and 18:00 h) in addition to normal rodent chow for 12 weeks. All animals were allowed free access to clean drinking water. Biliary secretion, cholesterol, bilirubin, conjugated and unconjugated bilirubin levels, and bile electrolytes were measured. Results: Biliary secretion in the nevirapine-treated group was significantly lower (p<0.05) than in the control group. Total cholesterol, total bilirubin and unconjugated bilirubin were significantly higher (p<0.001) in the nevirapinetreated group when compared to control. Conjugated bilirubin was also increased in the nevirapine-treated group though not statistically different from the control. Electrolytes (sodium and chlorine) content of bile were significantly lower (p<0.01 and p<0.001) in the nevirapine-treated group when compared to control. However, (potassium and bicarbonate) content of bile were significantly higher (p<0.05 and p<0.001) in the nevirapine-treated group when compared to control. Conclusion: Long term administration of nevirapine may lead to reduction in biliary secretion, increase bilirubin/ cholesterol levels and alter bile electrolytes’ composition. This implies that NVP may provoke liver damage.