The protective effects of Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) root against alcoholic liver damage were investigated in HepG2/2E1 cells and ICR mice. When an increase in the production of reactive oxygen species was induced by 300 mM ethanol in vitro, cell viability was drastically decreased by 39%. However, in the presence of hot water extract (TOH) from T. officinale root, no hepatocytic damage was observed in the cells treated with ethanol, while ethanol-extract (TOE) did not show potent hepatoprotective activity. Mice, which received TOH (1 g/kg bw/day) with ethanol revealed complete prevention of alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity as evidenced by the significant reductions of serum aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, and lactate dehydrogenase activities compared to ethanol-alone administered mice. When compared to the ethanol-alone treated group, the mice receiving ethanol plus TOH exhibited significant increases in hepatic antioxidant activities, including catalase, glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione. Furthermore, the amelioration of malondialdehyde levels indicated TOH's protective effects against liver damage mediated by alcohol in vivo. These results suggest that the aqueous extract of T. officinale root has protective action against alcohol-induced toxicity in the liver by elevating antioxidative potentials and decreasing lipid peroxidation.
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