Published online Jul 7, 2015. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v21.i25.7718
Peer-review started: December 9, 2014
First decision: January 22, 2015
Revised: February 25, 2015
Accepted: April 9, 2015
Article in press: April 9, 2015
Published online: July 7, 2015
AIM: To evaluate the effect of an extract of Geranium schiedeanum (Gs) as a hepatoprotective agent against ethanol (EtOH)-induced toxicity in rats.
METHODS: Male Wistar rats weighing 200-230 g were subjected to a 70% partial hepatectomy (PH); they were then divided into three groups (groups 1-3). During the experiment, animals in group 1 drank only water. The other two groups (2-3) drank an aqueous solution of EtOH (40%, v/v). Additionally, rats in group 3 received a Gs extract daily at a dose of 300 mg/kg body weight intragastically. Subsequently, to identify markers of liver damage in serum, alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, albumin and bilirubin were measured by colorimetric methods. Glucose, triglyceride and cholesterol concentrations were also determined. In addition, oxidative damage was estimated by measuring lipid peroxidation [using thiobarbituric-acid reactive substances (TBARS)] in both plasma and the liver and by measuring the total concentration of antioxidants in serum and the total antioxidant capacity in the liver. In addition, a liver mass gain assessment, total DNA analysis and a morpho-histological analysis of the liver from animals in all three groups were performed and compared. Finally, the number of deaths observed in the three groups was analyzed.
RESULTS: Administration of the Geranium shiedeanum extract significantly reduced the unfavorable effect of ethanol on liver regeneration (restitution liver mass: PH-EtOH group 60.68% vs PH-Gs-EtOH group 69.22%). This finding was congruent with the reduced levels of hepatic enzymes and the sustained or increased levels of albumin and decreased bilirubin in serum. The extract also modified the metabolic processes that regulate glucose and lipid levels, as observed from the serum measurements. Lower antioxidant levels and the liver damage induced by EtOH administration appeared to be mitigated by the extract, as observed from the TBARs (PH-EtOH group 200.14 mmol/mg vs PH-Gs-EtOH group 54.20 mmol/mg; P < 0.05), total status of antioxidants (PH-EtOH group 1.43 mmol/L vs PH-Gs-EtOH group 1.99 mmol/L; P < 0.05), total antioxidant capacity values, liver mass gain and total DNA determination (PH-EtOH group 4.80 mg/g vs PH-Gs-EtOH 9.10 mg/g; P < 0.05). Overall, these processes could be related to decreased mortality in these treated animals.
CONCLUSION: The administered extract showed a hepatoprotective effect, limiting the EtOH-induced hepatotoxic effects. This effect can be related to modulating oxido-reduction processes.
Core tip: The geranium is an alternative preventive agent to protect the liver from diverse substances that cause cellular damage, such as ethanol (EtOH). In this paper, according to the phytochemical studies, administering geranium and its compounds, primarily tannins, provided evidence of potentially being protective against liver damage caused by EtOH.