Int. J. Biosci.12( 1), 299-313, January 2018
Cynara scolymus is an important medicinal plant containing phenolic acids and flavonoids. One of the most active ingredients of cynara is cynarin, which is present in high concentrations, especially in the leaves. Experimental studies demonstrated a significant liver protecting and regenerating effects of cynara but only few of them discussed its anti-apoptotic effects on liver diseases. Fourty adult male albino rats were allocated into five groups. Group I: animals served as normal control, Group II: animals received olive oil, Group III: animals received cynara extract, Group IV: animals constituted the hepatotoxic group, which received CCl4 in olive oil, Group V: CCl4-prophylactic group administered cynara extract. Blood and liver tissues were collected for biochemical, molecular and histopathological examinations. The CCl4 group showed significant increases in serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin, albumin, malondialdehyde (MDA), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and decreases in albumin with reduced glutathione (GSH) content and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. The co-administration of cynara extract in prophylactic group significantly reduced the elevated levels of biochemical markers mentioned above as well as increased the level of tissue SOD, GSH and serum albumin. Histopathology of liver also confirmed the protective effective of cynara against CCl4-induced hepatic damage. Gene expression measurements revealed that cynara administration ameliorated the effect of CCl4 that induced alterations in genes expression of apoptotic related genes Bax, Bcl-2 and Caspase-3. The results confirm the strong protective and anti-apoptotic potential of cynara extract against CCl4-induced hepatic toxicity in rats at both biochemical and molecular levels.
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