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Int J Nanomedicine. 2011;6:1291-301. doi: 10.2147/IJN.S15160. Epub 2011 Jun 22.

Silymarin nanoparticle prevents paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity.

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Department of Chemical Technology, University of Calcutta, Kolkata, West Bengal, India.


Silymarin (Sm) is a polyphenolic component extracted from Silybum marianum. It is an antioxidant, traditionally used as an immunostimulant, hepatoprotectant, and dietary supplement. Relatively recently, Sm has proved to be a valuable chemopreventive and a useful antineoplastic agent. Medical success for Sm is, however, constrained by very low aqueous solubility and associated biopharmaceutical limitations. Sm flavonolignans are also susceptible to ion-catalyzed degradation in the gut. Proven antihepatotoxic activity of Sm cannot therefore be fully exploited in acute chemical poisoning conditions like that in paracetamol overdose. Moreover, a synchronous delivery that is required for hepatic regeneration is difficult to achieve by itself. This work is meant to circumvent the inherent limitations of Sm through the use of nanotechnology. Sm nanoparticles (Smnps) were prepared by nanoprecipitation in polyvinyl alcohol stabilized Eudragit RS100(®) polymer (Rohm Pharma GmbH, Darmstadt, Germany). Process parameter optimization provided 67.39% entrapment efficiency and a Gaussian particle distribution of average size 120.37 nm. Sm release from the nanoparticles was considerably sustained for all formulations. Smnps were strongly protective against hepatic damage when tested in a paracetamol overdose hepatotoxicity model. Nanoparticles recorded no animal death even when administered after an established paracetamol-induced hepatic necrosis. Preventing progress of paracetamol hepatic damage was traced for an efficient glutathione regeneration to a level of 11.3 μmol/g in hepatic tissue due to Smnps.


glutathione; mouse hepatotoxicity; nanoparticle; paracetamol; silymarin

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