Liver-protecting effects of table beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) during ischemia-reperfusion

Nutrition. 2007 Feb;23(2):172-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nut.2006.11.004.


Objective: Table beet (Beta vulgaris var. rubra) contains important bioactive agents (betaine and polyphenols), which have a wide range of physiologic effects. Because nutritive antioxidants may reduce the occurrence of complications and postoperative mortality, dietary intake of polyphenols and vitamins before surgery may greatly contribute to the survival of patients. Our aim was to determine the liver-protecting properties of bioactive substances of table beet in a model of ischemia-reperfusion injury of the rat.

Methods: Wistar rats were divided into two groups: non-treated (n = 24) and fed with table beet (n = 8). For 10 days the second group was treated with lyophilized table beet (2 g/kg body weight daily) mixed into the rat chow. Hepatic ischemia was maintained for 45 min, followed by 15 min of reperfusion. Ischemia-reperfusion was carried out on animals from both groups. Chemiluminescent intensity, H-donating ability, reducing power, free SH group concentration, Randox-total antioxidant status, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase activities were determined by luminometry and spectrophotometry. Fatty acid (Shimadzu GC) and metal ion (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry) concentrations were observed in the liver.

Results: As a result of feeding, global parameters (H-donating ability, reducing power, free SH group concentration) and enzymatic antioxidants (glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase) of the liver were found to increase significantly, which indicated that the treatment had a positive effect on its redox state. The increase found in zinc and copper content may protect the hepatocytes against oxidative stress because these elements are required for the function of superoxide dismutase enzymes. In the table beet group the concentration of short-chain fatty acids decreased, whereas that of long-chain fatty acids increased. The changes in metal element and fatty acid concentrations confirmed that these elements have an essential function in cellular pathways.

Conclusion: It may be stated that a natural antioxidant-rich diet has a positive effect on redox homeostasis during hepatic ischemia-reperfusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Beta vulgaris / chemistry*
  • Betaine / metabolism
  • Betaine / pharmacology*
  • Flavonoids / metabolism
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology*
  • Glutathione Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phenols / metabolism
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Polyphenols
  • Random Allocation
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Flavonoids
  • Phenols
  • Polyphenols
  • Betaine
  • Glutathione Peroxidase
  • Superoxide Dismutase