Silymarin attenuated mast cell recruitment thereby decreased the expressions of matrix metalloproteinases-2 and 9 in rat liver carcinogenesis

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Liver cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide but because of very poor prognosis, it is the third most common cause of death from cancer. There are currently limited therapeutic regimens available for effective treatment of this cancer. Silymarin is a naturally derived polyphenolic antioxidant, is the active constituent in a widely consumed dietary supplement milk thistle (Silybum marianum) extract. Mast cells play an important role in the inflammatory component of a developing neoplasm; they are also a major source for matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are involved in invasion and angiogenesis. In the present study, we investigated whether dietary supplementation of silymarin has any role in mast cell density (MCD) and in the expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 in N-nitrosodiethylamine induced (NDEA) liver cancer in Wistar albino male rats. NDEA administered rats showed increased MCD as revealed by toluidine blue staining along with upregulated expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9. Silymarin treatment inhibited this increase in MCD and downregulated the expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9 as revealed by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. In conclusion, silymarin exerted beneficial effects on liver carcinogenesis by attenuating the recruitment of mast cells and thereby decreased the expressions of MMP-2 and MMP-9.

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