Published online Jul 27, 2020. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v12.i7.363
Peer-review started: February 13, 2020
First decision: April 29, 2020
Revised: May 12, 2020
Accepted: May 29, 2020
Article in press: May 29, 2020
Published online: July 27, 2020
Aloe vera exerts several biological activities, such as, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. It was recently shown to reduce insulin resistance and triglyceride level. We hypothesized that aloe vera would have beneficial effects in alleviating non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in rats.
To examine the therapeutic effects of aloe vera in NASH rats.
All rats were randomly divided into 3 groups (n = 6 in each group). Rats in the control group were fed ad libitum with a standard diet for 8 wk. Rats in the NASH group were fed ad libitum with a high-fat high-fructose diet (HFHFD) for 8 wk. Rats in the aloe vera group were fed ad libitum with a HFHFD and aloe vera in dimethylsulfoxide (50 mg/kg) by gavage daily for 8 wk. Liver samples were collected at the end of the treatment period.
Hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA) levels increased significantly in the NASH group as compared with the control group (377 ± 77 nmol/mg vs 129 ± 51 nmol/mg protein, respectively, P < 0.001). Glutathione (GSH) levels were significantly lower in the NASH group than the control group (9 ± 2 nmol/mg vs 24 ± 8 nmol/mg protein, respectively, P = 0.001). The expression of interleukin-18 (IL-18), nuclear factor-kappa β, and caspase-3 increased, while peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma decreased in the NASH group compared with the controls. Following aloe vera administration, MDA levels decreased (199 ± 35 nmol/mg protein) and GSH increased (18 ± 4 nmol/mg protein) markedly. Steatosis, hepatocyte ballooning, lobular inflammation and increased hepatocyte apoptosis were observed in the NASH group. Aloe vera treatment attenuated these changes in liver histology.
Aloe vera attenuated oxidative stress, hepatic inflammation and hepatocyte apoptosis, thus improving liver pathology in rats with NASH.
Core tip: To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the therapeutic effects of aloe vera in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this animal model of NASH, we found that aloe vera decreased oxidative stress markers, replenished natural antioxidants, and reduced hepatic inflammation and hepatocyte apoptosis. Thus, aloe vera can alleviate the pathologic changes seen in NASH.