This study focused on the hepatoprotective activity of C-phycocyanin (C-PC) against carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatocyte damage in vitro and in vivo. In in vitro study, human hepatocyte cell line L02 was used. C-PC showed its capability to reverse CCl(4)-induced L02 cells viability loss, alanine transaminase (ALT) leakage and morphological changes. C-PC also showed the following positive effects: prevent the CCl(4)-induced overproduction of intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA); prevent changes in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity; and reduce glutathione (GSH) level. In vivo, C-PC showed its capability to decrease serum ALT and aspartate transaminase (AST) levels in CCl(4)-induced liver damage in mice. The histological observations supported the results obtained from serum enzymes assays. C-PC also showed the following effects in mice liver: prevent the CCl(4)-induced MDA formation and GSH depletion; prevent SOD and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activity; and prevent the elevation of transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) mRNAs. Both the in vitro and in vivo results suggested that C-PC was useful in protecting against CCl(4)-induced hepatocyte damage. One of the mechanisms is believed to be through C-PCs scavenging ability to protect the hepatocytes from free radicals damage induced by CCl(4). In addition, C-PC may be able to block inflammatory infiltration through its anti-inflammatory activities by inhibiting TGF-beta1 and HGF expression.
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