Free-radical scavenging action of medicinal herbs from Ghana: Thonningia sanguinea on experimentally-induced liver injuries

Gen Pharmacol. 1999 Jun;32(6):661-7. doi: 10.1016/s0306-3623(98)00238-9.


The antioxidant action of medicinal herbs used in Ghana for treating various ailments was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Five plants, Desmodium adscendens, Indigofera arrecta, Trema occidentalis, Caparis erythrocarpus, and Thonningia sanguinea were tested for their free radical scavenging action by their interaction with 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH). Of these five plants, only Thonningia sanguinea was found to scavenge the DPPH radical. Lipid peroxidation in liver microsomes induced by H2O2 was also inhibited by T. sanguinea. The hepatoprotective effect of T. sanguinea was studied on acute hepatitis induced in rats by a single dose of galactosamine (GalN, 400 mg/kg, IP) and in mice by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4, 25 microl/kg, IP). GalN induced hepatotoxicity in rats as evidenced by an increase in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and glutathione (GSH) S-transferase activities in serum was significantly inhibited when T. sanguinea extract (5 ml/kg, IP) was given to rats 12 hr and 1 hr before GalN treatment. The activity of liver microsomal GSH S-transferase, which is known to be activated by oxidative stress, was increased by the GaIN treatment and this increase was blocked by T. sanguinea pretreatment. Similarly, T. sanguinea pretreatment also inhibited CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in mice. These data indicate that T. sanguinea is a potent antioxidant and can offer protection against GalN- or CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Alanine Transaminase / drug effects
  • Aniline Hydroxylase / drug effects
  • Aniline Hydroxylase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / drug effects
  • Bepridil / analogs & derivatives
  • Bepridil / metabolism
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Carbon Tetrachloride / adverse effects
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology*
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Galactosamine / adverse effects
  • Ghana
  • Glutathione Transferase / drug effects
  • Glutathione Transferase / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / prevention & control
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Picrates*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Picrates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Galactosamine
  • Bepridil
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
  • Aniline Hydroxylase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase