The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of vanillin are considered as important forces in the protection against liver injury and fibrosis. This study investigated the protective effects of vanillin against carbon tetrachoride (CCl(4))-induced hepatotoxicity in rat. Pretreatment with vanillin prior the administration of CCl(4) significantly prevented the decrease of protein synthesis and the increase in plasma alanine (ALT) and aspartate (AST) aminotransferases. Furthermore, it inhibited hepatic lipid peroxidation (MDA) and protein carbonyl (PCO) formation and attenuated the (CCl(4))-mediated depletion of antioxidant enzyme catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities and glutathione level (GSH) in the liver. In addition, vanillin markedly attenuated the expression levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and prevented CCl(4)-induced hepatic cell alteration and necrosis, as indicated by liver histopathology. These findings suggest that the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of vanillin against CCl(4)-induced acute liver injury may involve its ability to block CCl(4)-generated free radicals.
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