Prevention of carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic injury in mice by Picrorhiza kurrooa.


Santra A, Das S, Maity A, Rao SB




Indian J Gastroenterol


OBJECTIVE: Picrorhiza kurrooa (Pk) has been used in liver diseases in the Indian indigenous system of medicine. We undertook this study to determine whether Pk extract possesses hepatoprotective function and if so to determine its nature and mechanism. METHODS: Liver injury was induced in 16 mice by thrice-a-week injection of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) for nine weeks. Eight of them were given daily feeding of Pk extract (12 mg/Kg) 10 days prior to CCl4 injection. Control mice (n = 6) were injected with olive oil for the same period. Serum markers of liver injury and histology of liver tissues were studied. Hepatic glutathione (GSH), total thiol (-SH), glucose 6- phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), catalase, lipid peroxidation and plasma membrane-bound Na+/K+ ATPase were also determined. RESULTS: CCl4 treatment resulted in significant elevation of serum ALT and AST. Liver GSH [6.3 (0.7) vs control 10.5 (1.1) micrograms/mg protein], -SH, G6PD, catalase and membrane-bound Na+/K+ AT-Pase [164.3 (23.2) vs control 358.4 (12.9) nmole pi released/min/mg protein] were significantly reduced. Significant increase of lipid peroxidation [3.0 (0.6) vs control 1.0 (0.3) nmole MDA/mg protein] and histologic changes characteristic of liver injury were also seen. Feeding of Pk extract in CCl4-treated mice caused significantly less alteration of serum ALT, AST, liver GSH [8.9 (0.7) micrograms/mg protein], -SH, G6PD, catalase and membrane-bound Na+/K+ ATPase [270.8 (21.3) nmole pi released/min/mg protein]. Histologic lesions of liver and lipid peroxidation [1.7 (0.4) nmole MDA/mg protein] were also significantly less in these animals. CONCLUSION: The extract of Pk appears to offer significant protection against liver damage by CCl4. It probably acts as free-radical scavenger and inhibitor of lipid peroxidation of liver plasma membrane.