1H NMR-based metabolomics study of liver damage induced by ginkgolic acid (15:1) in mice

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Ginkgolic acid (15:1) is a major toxic component in extracts obtained from Ginkgo biloba (EGb) that has allergic and genotoxic effects. This study is the first to explore the hepatotoxicity of ginkgolic acid (15:1) using a NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance)-based metabolomics approach in combination with biochemistry assays. Mice were orally administered two doses of ginkgolic acid (15:1), and mouse livers and serum were then collected for NMR recordings and biochemical assays. The levels of activity of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and glutamic aspartate transaminase (AST) observed in the ginkgolic acid (15:1)-treated mice suggested that it had induced severe liver damage. An orthogonal signal correction partial least-squares discriminant analysis (OSC-PLSDA) performed to determine the metabolomic profile of mouse liver tissues indicated that many metabolic disturbances, especially oxidative stress and purine metabolism, were induced by ginkgolic acid (15:1). A correlation network analysis combined with information related to structural similarities further confirmed that purine metabolism was disturbed by ginkgolic acid (15:1). This mechanism might represent the link between the antitumour activity and the liver injury-inducing effect of ginkgolic acid (15:1). A SUS (Shared and Unique Structure) plot suggested that a two-dose treatment of ginkgolic acid (15:1) had generally the same effect on metabolic variations but that its effects were dose-dependent, revealing some of the common features of ginkgolic acid (15:1) dosing. This integrated metabolomics approach helped us to characterise ginkgolic acid (15:1)-induced liver damage in mice.

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