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Exp Toxicol Pathol. 2011 Sep;63(6):569-74. doi: 10.1016/j.etp.2010.04.009. Epub 2010 May 14.

Anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects of Silybum marianum in treatment of experimental steatohepatitis.

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Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of Tehran, P.O. Box 13145-1384, Tehran, Iran.


In this study, we were aimed to evaluate the probable effect of the crud extract of Silybum marianum, with high polyphenolic content, on experimental nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). To induce NASH, a methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet was given to N-Mary rats for 8 weeks. After NASH development, MCD-fed rats were divided into two groups: MCD groups received MCD diet and MCD+S group was fed MCD diet plus crude extract of S. marianum orally for 3 weeks. Control group was fed a normal diet for 11 weeks. Finally, all rats were sacrificed. Plasma alanine amino transferase (ALT) and aspartate amino transferase (AST) levels were evaluated. In addition, the following hepatic factors were also evaluated: liver histology, malondialdehyde (MDA) and reduced glutathione (GSH) contents, gene expressions of TNF-α and TGF-β and immunoblot evaluations of caspase-3, ERK/p-ERK, JNK/pJNK and p38/pp38. Histopathological evaluations of the liver samples revealed that treatment with the S. marianum extract has abated the severity of NASH among the MCD-fed rats. Also, a significant reduction was observed in the sera ALT and AST activities. In addition, the extract caused dramatic reduction in the elevated hepatic TNF-α and TGF-β mRNA and MDA levels along with an increase in the GSH content. Moreover, the plant extract treatments significantly lowered activation of procaspase-3 to active caspase-3 and also lowered the phosphorylated form of JNK among the same group of rats. These results suggest that the S. marianum crude extract beneficial effects on NASH are mainly due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities.

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