Silybum marianum or milk thistle is the most well-researched plant in the treatment of liver disease. Silymarin, derived from the milk thistle plant, silybum marianum, has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for diseases of the liver and biliary tract. The current study aimed to investigate the silybum marianum seed extract as hepatoprotective agent verse hepatic damages caused by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4).Methods
Male Wistar albino rats were divided into two equal groups (n=8) and treated as follows: Group 1, kept as control group and orally given saline; Group 2, kept as control positive and were administered daily oral doses of silymarin (50 mg/kg) daily for 21 days and subsequently injected i.p. with CCl4 (50% v/v in olive oil; 1 ml/kg) on the 22nd day. CCl4-induced damages were assessed through liver function markers viz.; alkaline phosphatase (ALP), alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), γ-glutamyltransferase (γ-GT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH). Changes in lipid profile were checked by measuring serum total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (Tg), high-density lipoproteins (HDL) and low-density lipoproteins (LDL). Antioxidant status was checked by the activities of antioxidant enzymes (superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase), DNA damages, malondialdehyde (MDA) and nitric oxide (NO) content. The histopathological changes were observed with Masson staining.Results
Administration CCl4 induced an elevation of serum amino- and glutamyl transferases activities and an increased peroxidation, as well as a decrease of superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activities in the liver. Administration of CCl4 in rats caused a significant increase in liver function and lipid profile indicating hepatic damages which were restored by co-administration of silymarin. Cellular and DNA damages in hepatic tissues were caused by CCl4 which shown clear hepatic fibrosis in addition to disturbing antioxidant enzyme level. Co-treatment with silymarin regulated these markers of oxidative dysfunctions. Silymarin enhances hepatic glutathione and may contribute to the antioxidant defence of the liver.Conclusions
It may be concluded that silymarin has the ability to reverse CCl4 - induced hepatic damages. Silymarin has been used to treat alcoholic liver disease, acute and chronic viral hepatitis and toxin-induced liver diseases.