This study aimed to evaluate in vivo hepatoprotective activity of the aqueous extract of Artemisia absinthium L. (AEAA), which has been used for the treatment of liver disorders in Traditional Uighur Medicine.
Qualitative and quantitative phytochemical analysis of the AEAA was performed by means of thin layer chromatography and spectrophometric assays. Aqueous extract (50, 100 or 200 mg/kg body weight/day) was administered orally to experimental mice. Liver injury was induced chemically, by a single CCl(4) administration (0.1% in olive oil, 10 ml/kg, i.v.), or immunologically, by injection of endotoxin (LPS, 10 microg, i.v.) in BCG-primed mice. The levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) in mouse sera, as well as superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and malondialdehyde (MDA) in mouse liver tissues were measured. The biochemical observations were supplemented by histopathological examination.
Obtained results demonstrated that the pretreatment with AEAA significantly (P<0.001) and dose-dependently prevented chemically or immunologically induced increase in serum levels of hepatic enzymes. Furthermore, AEAA significantly (P<0.05) reduced the lipid peroxidation in the liver tissue and restored activities of defense antioxidant enzymes SOD and GPx towards normal levels. In the BCG/LPS model, increase of the levels of important pro-inflammatory mediators TNF-alpha and IL-1 was significantly (P<0.01) suppressed by AEAA pretreatment. Histopathology of the liver tissue showed that AEAA attenuated the hepatocellular necrosis and led to reduction of inflammatory cells infiltration. Phytochemical analyses revealed the presence of sesquiterpene lactones, flavonoids, phenolic acids and tannins in the AEAA.
The results of this study strongly indicate the protective effect of AEAA against acute liver injury which may be attributed to its antioxidative and/or immunomodulatory activity, and thereby scientifically support its traditional use.