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Toxicol Int. 2014 May;21(2):191-5. doi: 10.4103/0971-6580.139808.

In vivo Studies on the Protective Effect of Propolis on Doxorubicin-Induced Toxicity in Liver of Male Rats.

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Department of Zoology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.
Deparment of Biotechnology, University Institute of Engineering and Technology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.



Since anticancer drugs are to be administered for long durations of time and are associated with systemic toxicities, the present studies were conducted to evaluate the protective potential of honey bee propolis against a widely used anticancer drug, doxorubicin (DXR) induced toxicity and oxidative damage in liver tissues of rats.


Sixteen male Sprague Dawley rats, weighing between 200-220 g, were used and were divided into four equal groups. Propolis was given orally to rats [250 mg/kg body weight (bw) for 14 consecutive days] and DXR [25 mg/kg bw; intraperitoneally (i.p) was administered on 12(th), 13(th) and 14(th) day of the experiment. All the animals were sacrificed on day 15(th) day by decapitation. Blood and tissue samples were collected for measurement of toxicity and oxidative damage parameters (enzymatic assays and biochemical estimations).


Administration of DXR for 3 days at a cumulative dose of 25 mg/kg bw, induced toxicity and oxidative stress in rats as significantly decreased activity of catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and glutathione reductase (GR) were observed in rat liver supernatants when compared to control group. Increased activity of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) and serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) was obtained in DXR administered rats. Also there are significantly increased levels of lipid peroxides (measured as malondialdehyde formation) and significantly decreased level of glutathione (GSH) in doxorubicin treated rat liver supernatants as compared to healthy controls. On the other hand, administration of animals with propolis prior to DXR treatment led to significant modulation of the oxidative damage related parameters in liver and hepatotoxicity parameters in blood, when compared to doxorubicin treated group. However results were still not comparable to control group or only propolis group indicating partial protection by propolis at the concentration used against anticancer drug toxicity.


Propolis extract was found to have a protective effect against doxorubicin-induced toxicity in rat liver though it was still not normalized. It can be concluded that propolis provides partial protection from toxicity of anticancer drug.


Antioxidant; doxorubicin; liver toxicity; oxidative stress; propolis

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