Background: Medicinal herbs and traditional medicines have been used in our country since pre-Hispanic times and are significantly effective against a large variety of liver disorders. Bixa orellana is one of the herbal drugs used traditionally for fever, buccal tumors, antiseptic, antibacterial and different types of hepatic ailments.
Aim of the study: To investigate the hepatoprotective activity of Bixa orellana L. (BO) shell extract against acute ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
Materials and methods: Liver toxicity was induced by oral administered of alcohol(40%) at a dose of 12 ml/kg at 2 h every day for eight consecutive days 50% ethanolic extract of Bixa orellana shells at a dose of 200 and 400 mg/kg was administered by oral route daily for 8 days for the assessment of hepatoprotective activity. The liver protective activity was assessed using various biochemical parameters (aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatise, Bilirubin, albumin, Cholesterol and lactate dehydrogenase) and anti-oxidant parameters (Lipid peroxidation, reduced glutathione, catalase, superoxide dismutase). The hepatoprotective potential of BOE of shells was further accomplished by the histopathological examinations.
Results: Obtained results demonstrated that the level of liver marker enzymes and antioxidant parameters were significantly altered by ethanol treatment. Treatment with Bixa orellana shell extract signiﬁcantly(P<0.01- P<0.001) and dose-dependently prevented alcohol-induced increase in serum levels of hepatic enzymes and liver injury. In addition, BOE significantly normalized the activity of antioxidant enzymes, namely, lipid peroxidation (P< 0.01 to P< 0.001), superoxide dismutase (P< 0.05 to P< 0.001) and reduced glutathione (P< 0.05 to P<0.001) in the liver tissue of ethanol treated groups. Histopathological study of the liver tissue showed that Bixa orellana extract attenuated the hepatocellular necrosis and led to reduction in inﬂammatory cells inﬁltration.
Conclusions: The study powerfully supportsthat the protective effect of Bixa orellana shell extract significantly attributes to the hepatoprotective activity caused by alcohol toxicity as it reverses the altered liver marker enzymes back to normal. It also showed that the antioxidant effect contributes to its antihepatotoxic activity.
Future research: Bixa orellana shells should focus on ethanol metabolism by the microsomal oxidizing system (cytochrome P450 II E1) to reduce the production of free radicals which oxidize cellular biomolecules, such as proteins and DNA, finally resulting in fatty infiltration of the hepatocytes and causing impairment of gluconeogenesis and diversion of metabolism to ketogenesis and fatty acid synthesis.Implications of such studies could eventually lead to novel treatment for hepatic disorders and mitochondrial damage.
Keywords: Antioxidant, Bixa orellana, Ethanol, Hhepatotoxicity, Hepatocellular necrosis, Inflammation