Published online Oct 7, 2020. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v26.i37.5629
Peer-review started: June 12, 2020
First decision: July 25, 2020
Revised: July 28, 2020
Accepted: September 9, 2020
Article in press: September 9, 2020
Published online: October 7, 2020
Many natural products confer health benefits against diverse diseases through their antioxidant activities. Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) is often used in animal experiments to study the effects of substances on liver injury and the related mechanisms of action, among which oxidative stress is a major pathogenic factor.
To compare antioxidant and hepatoprotective activities of ten herbs and identify and quantify phytochemicals for the one with strongest hepatoprotection.
The antioxidant activity of ten medicinal herbs was determined by both ferric-reducing antioxidant power and Trolox equivalent antioxidant capacity assays. The total phenolic and flavonoid contents were determined by Folin–Ciocalteu method and aluminum chloride colorimetry, respectively. Their effects on CCl4-induced oxidative liver injury were evaluated and compared in a mouse model by administrating each water extract (0.15 g/mL, 10 mL/kg) once per day for seven consecutive days and a dose of CCl4 solution in olive oil (8%, v/v, 10 mL/kg). The herb with the strongest hepatoprotective performance was analyzed for the detailed bioactive components by using high-performance liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization source-ion trap tandem mass spectrometry.
The results revealed that all tested herbs attenuated CCl4-induced oxidative liver injury; each resulted in significant decreases in levels of serum alanine transaminase, aspartate transaminase, alkaline phosphatase, and triacylglycerols. In addition, most herbs restored hepatic superoxide dismutase and catalase activities, glutathione levels, and reduced malondialdehyde levels. Sanguisorba officinalis (S. officinalis) L., Coptis chinensis Franch., and Pueraria lobata (Willd.) Ohwi root were the three most effective herbs, and S. officinalis L. exhibited the strongest hepatoprotective effect. Nine active components were identified in S. officinalis L. Gallic acid and (+)-catechin were quantified (7.86 ± 0.45 mg/g and 8.19 ± 0.57 mg/g dried weight, respectively). Furthermore, the tested herbs displayed a range of in vitro antioxidant activities proportional to their phenolic content; the strongest activities were also found for S. officinalis L.
This study is of value to assist the selection of more effective natural products for direct consumption and the development of nutraceuticals or therapeutics to manage oxidative stress-related diseases.
Core Tip: Many natural products confer health benefits against diverse diseases through their antioxidant activities. In this study, ten medicinal herbs were selected for an evaluation and comparison of their effects on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced oxidative liver injury. Sanguisorba officinalis (S. officinalis) L. exhibited the strongest hepatoprotective effect, and the strongest in vitro activities were also found for S. officinalis L. Our results provided valuable information for the selection of more efficient herbs to protect against CCl4-induced liver injury and to support the direct application of herbs or the development of novel therapies for the management of oxidative stress-related diseases.