Protective effect of Urtica dioica on liver damage induced by biliary obstruction in rats

Toxicol Ind Health. 2013 Oct;29(9):838-45. doi: 10.1177/0748233712445045. Epub 2012 May 14.


The aim of this study was to evaluate the possible protective effects of Urtica dioica (UD) against liver damage in the common bile duct-ligated rats. A total of 24 male Sprague Dawley rats were divided into three groups, namely, control, bile duct ligation (BDL) and BDL + received UD groups, containing eight animals in each group. The rats in UD-treated groups were given UD oils (2 ml/kg) once a day intraperitoneally for 2 weeks starting 3 days prior to BDL operation. The change demonstrating the bile duct proliferation and fibrosis in expanded portal tracts includes the extension of proliferated bile ducts into the lobules; inflammatory cell infiltration into the widened portal areas were observed in BDL group. Treatment of BDL with UD attenuated alterations in liver histology. The α-smooth muscle actin, cytokeratin-positive ductular proliferation and the activity of terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling in the BDL were observed to be reduced with the UD treatment. The data indicate that UD attenuates BDL-induced cholestatic liver injury, bile duct proliferation and fibrosis.

Keywords: TUNEL; Urtica dioica; bile duct ligation; immunohistochemistry; liver.

MeSH terms

  • Actins / genetics
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cholestasis / complications
  • Cholestasis / drug therapy
  • Cholestasis / pathology
  • Common Bile Duct / drug effects
  • Common Bile Duct / pathology
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase / genetics
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase / metabolism
  • Fibrosis / drug therapy
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Keratins / genetics
  • Keratins / metabolism
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Liver Diseases / pathology
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Urtica dioica / chemistry*


  • Actins
  • Antioxidants
  • smooth muscle actin, rat
  • Keratins
  • DNA Nucleotidylexotransferase