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Toxicology. 2007 Mar 22;232(1-2):50-6. Epub 2006 Dec 23.

Protective effects of echinacoside on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.

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Institute of Liver Diseases, The 302th Hospital of PLA, Beijing, PR China.


The aim of this study was to investigate the possible protective effects of echinacoside, one of the phenylethanoids isolated from the stems of Cistanches salsa, a Chinese herbal medicine, on the free radical damage of liver caused by carbon tetrachloride in rats. Treatment of rats with carbon tetrachloride produced severe liver injury, as demonstrated by dramatic elevation of serum ALT, AST levels and typical histopathological changes including hepatocyte necrosis or apoptosis, haemorrhage, fatty degeneration, etc. In addition, carbon tetrachloride administration caused oxidative stress in rats, as evidenced by increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) production and MDA concentrations in the liver of rats, along with a remarkable reduction in hepatic SOD activity and GSH content. However, simultaneous treatment with echinacoside (50mg/kg, intraperitoneally) significantly attenuated carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity. The results showed that serum ALT, AST levels and hepatic MDA content as well as ROS production were reduced dramatically, and hepatic SOD activity and GSH content were restored remarkably by echinacoside administration, as compared to the carbon tetrachloride-treated rats. Moreover, the histopathological damage of liver and the number of apoptotic hepatocytes were also significantly ameliorated by echinacoside treatment. It is therefore suggested that echinacoside can provide a definite protective effect against acute hepatic injury caused by CCl(4) in rats, which may mainly be associated with its antioxidative effect.

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