Background: Silymarin, a flavonoid, has been reported to have hepatoprotective, antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activities. Picrorrhiza kurroa, Tephrosia purpurea, Asparagus racemosus and Phyllanthus amarus plants are well reported to possess anti-hepatotoxic ability.
Objective: The present study was designed to investigate the effect of silymarin alone and in combination with the above mentioned hepatoprotective plants against experimentally induced liver injury.
Materials and Methods: Wistar albino rats (180-220 g) of either sex (n=6) were employed in present study. Experimental hepatotoxicity was induced by the administration of paracetamol (3 g/kg, p.o.) or CCl4 (1 ml/kg, s.c.). Silymarin in the dose of 12.5, 25, 50 mg/kg, and silymarin 25 mg/kg in combination with plant extract: Picrorrhizakurroa, Tephrosiapurpurea, Phyllanthus amarus and Asparagus racemosus were administered orally for 7 days.
Results: Administration of PCM or CCl4 caused significant increase in serum alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin; tissue lipid peroxidation, nitrite/nitrate, and
decrease in tissue GSH and Na+K+ATPase levels, characterizing experimental hepatotoxicity. Pretreatment with silymarin alone and its combination with each plant extract significantly attenuated the toxic effects of hepatotoxicants in liver. Histological study of liver was also carried out to estimate the extent of tissue injury.
Conclusion: The present study provides pharmacological basis for the efficacy of silymarin in lower dosage, and its rational use in combination with hepatoprotective plants to ameliorate hepatic insufficiency.
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