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Biol Pharm Bull. 2005 Sep;28(9):1639-44.

Antioxidant effects of aqueous extract of Terminalia chebula in vivo and in vitro.

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Department of Food Science, College of Life & Environmental Sciences, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.


The ripe fruit of Terminalia chebula RETZIUS (T. chebula RETZ) (Combretsceae), which is a native plant in India and Southeast Asia, has traditionally been used as a popular folk medicine for homeostatic, antitussive, laxative, diuretic, and cardiotonic treatments. The objective of this study was to evaluate the protective effects of an aqueous extract of fruit of T. chebula on the tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP)-induced oxidative injury observed in cultured rat primary hepatocytes and rat liver. Both treatment and pretreatment of the hepatocytes with the T. chebula extract (TCE) significantly reversed the t-BHP-induced cell cytotoxicity and lactate dehydrogenase leakage. In addition, TCE exhibited in vitro ferric-reducing antioxidant activity and 2,2-diphenyl-1-picryhydrazyl free radical-scavenging activities. The in vivo study showed that pretreatment with TCE (500 or 1000 mg/kg) by gavage for 5 d before a single dose of t-BHP (0.1 mmol/kg i.p.) significantly lowered the serum levels of the hepatic enzyme markers aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase and reduced the indicators of oxidative stress in the liver, such as the glutathine disulfide content and lipid peroxidation, in a dose-dependent manner. Histopathologic examination of the rat livers showed that TCE reduced the incidence of liver lesions, including hepatocyte swelling and neutrophilic infiltration, and repaired necrosis induced by t-BHP. Based on the results described above, we speculate that TCE has the potential to play a role in the hepatic prevention of oxidative damage in living systems.

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