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Journal of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Year: 2006  |  Volume: 1  |  Issue: 2  |  Page No.: 147 - 156

Capsaicin Ameliorates Hepatic Injury Caused by Carbon Tetrachloride in the Rat

Omar M.E. Abdel-Salam, Amany Ameen Sleem, Nabila S. Hassan, Hafiza A Sharaf and Mozsik Gy    

Abstract: The effect of capsaicin, the pungent principle of red hot pepper and a sensory stimulant on the development of hepatic injury in rats treated with carbon tetrachloride was investigated. CCl4 was given orally (2 mL kg-1 followed by 1 mL kg-1 after one week). Capsaicin at three dose levels (10, 100 and 1000 μg kg-1; 2.5, 25 and 250 μg mL-1) or silymarin (22 mg kg-1) was administered orally daily for 10 days, starting at time of administration of CCl4. The daily administration of capsaicin conferred significant protection against the hepatotoxic effects of CCl4 in rats. It decreased the increases in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and also prevented the development of histological hepatic necrosis caused by CCl4 as determined 10 days after drug administration. Thus, compared with the CCl4 control group, serum ALT decreased by 39.3, 59.3 and 71.1%, while AST decreased by 14.3, 21.5 and 23.3%, after the administration of capsaicin at the aforementioned doses, respectively. Serum bilirubin was decreased by capsaicin at 10 or 100 μg kg-1 (46.4 and 66.5% reduction, respectively), but an increased bilirubin and ALP was observed after the highest dose of capsaicin. Meanwhile, silymarin reduced serum ALT by 65.3%, AST by 18.9%, ALP by 22% and bilirubin by 13.4%, compared to CCl4 control. Serum proteins were significantly increased by 16.9-22.9% after treatment with capsaicin compared, whilst marked increased in serum glucose by 66.9% was observed after the highest dose of capsaicin compared with vehicle-treated group. Quantitative analysis of the area of damage by image analysis technique showed a reduced area of damage from 13.6% to 7.5, 4.3 and 2.8% by the aforementioned doses of capsaicin, respectively and H and E staining also showed markedly less hepatic necrosis in rats treated with capsaicin or silymarin. Histochemical alterations such as decreased nuclear DNA, cell glycogen and protein contents caused by CCl4 in hepatocytes were prevented by capsaicin as well as by silymarin. It is concluded that orally administered capsaicin exerts beneficial effects on liver histopathologic changes and enzymatic release caused by CCl4 in rats, but high doses are likely to result in cholestasis.

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