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Physiol Res. 1998;47(1):1-7.

Silymarin as a potential hypocholesterolaemic drug.

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  • 1Institute of Medical Chemistry, Medical Faculty, Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic.


Silymarin, a mixture of flavonolignans from medicinal plant Silybum marianum, is used in supportive treatment of liver diseases of different etiology due to its hepatoprotective activity, which is considered to involve antioxidative and the membrane stabilizing effects. The liver plays an important role in regulation of metabolism of plasma lipoproteins, and liver injury is often reflected as a secondary dyslipoproteinaemia, which may lead to the development of atherosclerosis, particularly when associated with hypercholesterolaemia. This review summarizes the experimental evidence indicating that silymarin-induced protection of liver functions may be of benefit with regard to liver lipid metabolism related to the regulation of plasma lipoproteins. Moreover, some data suggest that silymarin could have a direct effect on liver cholesterol metabolism by inhibiting cholesterol biosynthesis. It is proposed that silymarin deserves to be studied as a potential hypocholesterolaemic agent.

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