Antifibrotic activity of Taraxacum officinale root in carbon tetrachloride-induced liver damage in mice

J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Aug 9;130(3):569-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.05.046. Epub 2010 Jun 2.


Aim of the study: Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been traditionally used in the treatment of various liver disorders. The present study was aimed to assess the efficacy of dandelion root water-ethanol extract (DWE) in carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced hepatic fibrosis.

Materials and methods: The mice were treated with CCl(4) dissolved in olive oil (20%, v/v, 2 ml/kg) intraperitoneally (i.p.), twice a week for 4 weeks. DWE was administered i.p. once daily for next 10 days, in doses of 200 and 600 mg/kg of body weight. The degree of hepatic fibrosis was determined by hydroxyproline content and Mallory trichrome staining. Oxidative stress was determined by measuring hepatic superoxide dismutase (Cu/Zn SOD) activity. The expression and specific tissue distribution of glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP), alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA), and metallothionein (MT) I/II in the liver were determined by immunohistochemistry.

Results: Hepatic Cu/Zn SOD activity has been decreased in intoxicated mice and normalized in DWE treated groups. MT I/II immunopositivity was strongly reduced in the CCl(4) group. DWE treatment successfully decreased hepatic fibrinous deposits, restored histological architecture, and modulate the expression of GFAP and alpha-SMA. Concomitantly, MT I/II expression increased in the DWE treated groups.

Conclusions: Our results suggest the therapeutic effect of DWE on CCl(4)-induced liver fibrosis by the inactivation of hepatic stellate cells and the enhancement of hepatic regenerative capabilities. The present results provide scientific evidence to substantiate the traditional use of Taraxacum officinale root in hepatic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Tetrachloride / toxicity
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / drug effects
  • Hepatic Stellate Cells / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis / drug therapy*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots
  • Superoxide Dismutase / drug effects
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Taraxacum / chemistry*


  • Plant Extracts
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Superoxide Dismutase