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Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2008 Mar;59(5):319-27. Epub 2007 Dec 3.

Acetaminophen-induced liver damage in mice: effects of some medicinal plants on the oxidative defense system.

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Departamento de Química, Centro de Ciências Naturais e Exatas, Universidade Federal de Santa Maria, Programa de pós-graduação em Ciências Biológicas: Bioquímica Toxicológica, Camobi, Cep 97105-900, Santa Maria, RS, Brazil.


Paracetamol (acetaminophen, PCM) is widely used as an over-the-counter analgesic and antipyretic drug. Intake of a large dose of PCM may result in severe hepatic necrosis. Oxidative stress mediated by oxidative capacities of the PCM metabolite (N-acetyl-p-benzoquinoneimine (NAPQI), is considered as the main cause of hepatotoxicity of PCM. This work therefore seeks to induce liver damage in mice using single dose (25 0mg/kg) of acetaminophen and to evaluate the possible protective effects of administration (100mg/kg) of some medicinal plants (Kigelia africana, Calotropis procera, Hibiscus sabdariffa and Alchornea cordifolia) on PCM-induced liver damage in mice. The alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) activities were determined in the plasma of mice. Equally, comparative effects of these plants on lipid peroxidation product thiobarbituric reacting substances (TBARS) and some antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), gluthathione peroxidase (GPx), and delta-aminolevulinate dehydratase (delta-ALA-D) activities, were also evaluated in the mouse liver homogenate. Paracetamol caused liver damage as evident by statistically significant (P<0.05) increased in plasma activities of AST and ALT. There were general statistically significant losses in the activities of SOD, GPx, CAT, and delta-ALA-D and an increase in TBARS in the liver of paracetamol-treated group compared with the control group. However, all the tested plants except Calotropis procera were able to counteract these effects. The present results suggest that these plants can act as hepatoprotectives against paracetamol toxicity and that the mechanism by which they do this is by acting as antioxidants.

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