Effects of volatile oil constituents of Nigella sativa on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in mice: evidence for antioxidant effects of thymoquinone.

Citation:
Mansour, M. A., O. T. Ginawi, T. El-Hadiyah, A. S. el-Khatib, O. A. Al-Shabanah, and H. A. Al-Sawaf, "Effects of volatile oil constituents of Nigella sativa on carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatotoxicity in mice: evidence for antioxidant effects of thymoquinone.", Research communications in molecular pathology and pharmacology, vol. 110, issue 3-4, pp. 239-51, 2001.

Abstract:

Effects of the volatile oil constituents of Nigella sativa, namely, thymoquinone (TQ), p-cymene and alpha-pinene, on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4-indued acute liver injury were investigated in mice. A single dose of CCl4 (15 microl/Kg i.p.) induced hepatotoxicity 24 h after administration manifested biochemically as significant elevation of the enzymes activities of serum alanine transaminase (ALT, EC:2.6.1.2), asparate transaminase (AST, EC:2.6.1.1) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH, EC: 1.1.1.27). The toxicity was further evidenced by a significant decrease of non-protein sulfhydryl(-SH) concentration, and a significant increase of lipid peroxidation measued as malondialdhyde (MDA) in the liver tissues. Administration of different doses of the TQ (4, 8, 12.5, 25 and 50 mg/Kg i.p.) did not alter the chosen biochemical parameters measured, while higher doses of TQ were lethal. The LD50 was 90.3 mg/Kg (77.9-104.7, 95% CL). Pretreatment of mice with different doses of TQ 1 h before CCl4 injection showed that the only dose of TQ that ameliorated hepatotoxicity of CCl4 was 12.5 mg/Kg i.p. as evidenced by the significant reduction of the elevated levels of serum enzymes as well as hepatic MDA content and significant increase of the hepatic nonprotein sulfhydryl(-SH) concentration. Treatment of mice with the other volatile oil constituents, p-cymene or alpha-pinene did not induce any changes in the serum ALT measured. In addition, i.p. administration of these compounds 1 h before CCl4 injection, did not protect mice against CC4-induced hepatotoxicity. The results of the present study indicate that TQ (12.5 mg/Kg, i.p.) may play an important role as antioxidant and may efficiently act as a protective agent against chemically-induced hepatic damage. In contrast, higher doses of TQ were found to induce oxidative stress leading to hepatic injury.

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