Biochemical Evaluation of the Medicinal Properties of Ziziphus Mauritiana : Current School News

Biochemical Evaluation of the Medicinal Properties of Ziziphus Mauritiana (Rhamnaceae) Aqueous Leaf Extract on Alcohol-induced Hepatotoxicity



Biochemical Evaluation of the Medicinal Properties of Ziziphus Mauritiana (Rhamnaceae) Aqueous Leaf Extract on Alcohol-induced Hepatotoxicity.


Pre-treatment, co-treatment, and post-treatment protocols were employed to study the effect of aqueous extract of Ziziphus mauritiana (Z) leaf on alcohol-induced chronic hepatotoxicity using male Wister rats. Alcohol-induced liver damage was achieved by administering 40% alcohol solution (1 m11100 g bwlday) for 6 weeks. A significant decrease (pc0.05) in body weight (bw) of rats in all the groups that ingested alcohol was observed up to week 4 compared to bw of control rats.

However, at week 5, groups that were pre-treated with 400 mglkg bw of aqueous extract of Z or 100 mglkg silymarin prior to alcohol administration had a significant increase (p<0.05): body weight compared to the bw of the group that ingested alcohol only. Exposure of rats to alcohol significantly elevated (p<0.05) the levels of enzyme and non-enzyme markers of liver tissue damage. 

Also, the extent of hepatic lipid peroxidation was significantly increased (p<0.05) in rats that ingested alcohol only when compared to that of the control group. Pre-treatment of rats with 200 or 400 mglkg bw aqueous extract of Z or 100 mglkg bw silymarin, 30 min prior to alcohol administration significantly (p<0.05) restored the activities of the enzyme n~arkers and concentrations of non-enzyme markers to near normal values.

Posttreatment of alcohol-induced liver damage with 400mglkg bw of aqueous ‘ extract of’ Z leaf or 100 mgkg silymarin enhanced quick recovery from alcohol toxicity. Alcohol exposure was found to significantly decrease (p<0.05) the activities antioxidant enzymes reduced glutathione (GSH) and the total antioxidant status (TAS) compared to -those of control rats.

Pre-treatment of rats with 200 or 400mglkg bw aqueous extract of % leaf prior to alcohol administration significantly (pC0.05) and dose-dependently raised the levels of hepatic GR, GPx, CAT, SOD, GSH, and the TAS when compared to the values of rats that ingested alcohol only. Co-administration of alcohol with 400 mglkg bw of aqueous extract of Z significantly elevated (p<0.05) the level of SOD only when compared with values of rats fed alcohol only. 


Alcohol abuse is a major health problem worldwide. Alcoholic liver disease is responsible for 15-30% of all admissions in many general hospitals in the United States of America (Kinghan, 1996). Although important progress has been made in understanding the pathogenesis of the alcoholic liver disease, current therapies for this disease are not effective. Novel therapeutic approaches such as utilizing agents that successively correct the fundamental cellular disturbances resulting from excessive alcohol consumption may be attractive (Zhou et al., 2003).

Alcohol administration has been found to cause accumulation of reactive oxygen species ill the liver, which in turn cause lipid peroxidation of cellular membranes and proteins and DNA oxidation resulting in hepatocyte injury (Zhou et nl., 2003). Based on the hypothesis that oxidative stress occurs only when the antioxidant capacity is insufficient to cope with the generation of prooxidants, many studies have focused on the alcohol-associated changes in the liver antioxidants.

In spite of the tremendous advances made in allopathic medicine, no effective hepatoprotective drug is available. However, plant drugs are known to play a vital role in the management of liver diseases. At the same time, surprisingly~ there are no readily available plant drugs/formulations to treat severe liver diseases (Subramoniam and Pushpangadan, 1999).

The focus on plant research has increased all over the world and a large body of evidence has been collected to show the immense potential of medicinal plants used in various traditional systems (Dahanukar et al., 2000). Such scientific studies have led to the isolation of chemical substances with therapeutic potentials. And many of the isolates have found use as modern drugs while others have served as leads for the synthesis of new drugs.

Unfortunately, a greater proportion of plants known traditionally to possess medicinal properties and which are used in herbal medicines have not been subjected to scientific evaluation which is necessary not only because of the need to discover new drugs and natural products but also the need to assess the toxicity risks. Besides, it is important that traditionally claimed therapeutic properties of such plants be confirmed even if the active principles are not ultimately discovered (Aliyu, 1994). 


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