Antioxidant properties of Taraxacum officinale leaf extract are involved in the protective effect against hepatoxicity induced by acetaminophen in mice

J Med Food. 2012 Jun;15(6):549-56. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2011.0282. Epub 2012 Mar 16.


Acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity has been related to several cases of hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatic transplant. As APAP hepatotoxicity is related to reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation and excessive oxidative stress, natural antioxidant compounds have been tested as an alternative therapy to diminish the hepatic dysfunction induced by APAP. Taraxacum officinale Weber (Family Asteraceae), commonly known as dandelion, is used for medicinal purposes because of its choleretic, diuretic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective properties. This study evaluated the hepatoprotective activity of T. officinale leaf extract against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. T. officinale was able to decrease thiobarbituric acid-reactive substance levels induced by 200 mg/kg APAP (p.o.), as well as prevent the decrease in sulfhydryl levels caused by APAP treatment. Furthermore, histopathological alterations, as well as the increased levels of serum aspartate and alanine aminotransferases caused by APAP, were prevented by T. officinale (0.1 and 0.5 mg/mL). In addition, T. officinale extract also demonstrated antioxidant activity in vitro, as well as scavenger activity against 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and nitric oxide radicals. Our results clearly demonstrate the hepatoprotective effect of T. officinale against the toxicity induced by APAP. The possible mechanisms involved include its scavenger activities against ROS and reactive nitrogen species, which are attributed to the content of phenolic compounds in the extract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects*
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic / adverse effects
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Biphenyl Compounds / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / drug therapy*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / pathology
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Picrates / metabolism
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species / metabolism
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds / metabolism
  • Taraxacum / chemistry*
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Analgesics, Non-Narcotic
  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • Picrates
  • Plant Extracts
  • Reactive Nitrogen Species
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Sulfhydryl Compounds
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Acetaminophen
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase