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Phytother Res. 2001 May;15(3):206-12.

Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of punicalagin and punicalin on acetaminophen-induced liver damage in rats.

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Graduate Institute of Natural Products, Kaohsiung Medical College, Kaohsiung, Taiwan.


Punicalagin and punicalin were isolated from the leaves of Terminalia catappa L., a Combretaceous plant distributed throughout tropical and subtropical beaches, which is used for the treatment of dermatitis and hepatitis. Our previous studies showed that both of these compounds exert antioxidative activity. In this study, the antihepatotoxic activity of punicalagin and punicalin on acetaminophen-induced toxicity in the rat liver was evaluated. After evaluating the changes of several biochemical functions in serum, the levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) were increased by acetaminophen administration and reduced by punicalagin and punicalin. Histological changes around the hepatic central vein and oxidative damage induced by acetaminophen were also recovered by both compounds. The data show that both punicalagin and punicalin exert antihepatotoxic activity, but treatment with larger doses enhanced liver damage. These results suggest that even if punicalagin and punicalin have antioxidant activity at small doses, treatment with larger doses will possibly induce some cell toxicities.

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