Can methanolic extract of Nigella sativa seed affect glyco-regulatory enzymes in experimental hepatocellular carcinoma?

Environ Health Prev Med. 2013 Jan;18(1):49-56. doi: 10.1007/s12199-012-0292-8. Epub 2012 Jul 6.


Background and aim: To investigate the possible modulating role of "Nigella sativa" (NS), a plant commonly used in Egyptian traditional medicine, on premalignant perturbations in three glycol-regulatory enzymes in an experimental rat model of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).

Methods: Thirty-six (36) male albino rats were divided into four groups (n = 9). Group 1 served as a normal control, group 2 was treated with methanolic extract of Nigella sativa (MENS) (1 g/kg/day, orally) for 14 weeks, group 3 received a single intraperitoneal dose of diethyl nitrosamine (DENA) (200 mg/kg), followed 2 weeks later by a subcutaneous injection of carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4), 3 ml/kg/week/6 weeks) and group IV was treated with MENS for 2 weeks prior to administration of the carcinogenic combination (DENA + CCl(4), as in group 3) until the end of the experiment. The total period of the experiment was 14 weeks.

Results: In the DENA + CCl(4)-treated group, there was a significant increase in the relative liver weight, serum alpha fetoprotein level and the activities of hexokinase, glyceraldehyde phosphate dehydrogenase and glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase in both the serum and liver homogenate; this was accompanied by a subsequent decrease in body weight. Pre-treatment with MENS significantly maintained these parameters close to the normal condition.

Conclusion: Based on these results, we conclude that MENS has a chemo-preventive effect against the progression into liver malignancy through its modulation of the energy metabolic pathways (i.e. glycolysis) that may be involved in hepatocarcinogenesis.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic / therapeutic use*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / prevention & control*
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase / metabolism
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / blood
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Hexokinase / blood
  • Hexokinase / metabolism
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Methanol / chemistry
  • Nigella sativa / chemistry*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Seeds / chemistry
  • Spectrophotometry


  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Plant Extracts
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases
  • Hexokinase
  • Methanol