Effect of lecithin in the treatment of ethanol mediated free radical induced hepatotoxicity

Indian J Clin Biochem. 2006 Mar;21(1):62-9. doi: 10.1007/BF02913068.


Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) develops as a consequence of priming and sensitizing mechanisms rendered by cross-interactions of primary mechanistic factors and secondary risk factors. Liver damage due to consumption of alcohol may be caused by oxygen radicals such as superoxide and hydroxyl radicals, generated during the metabolism of ethanol by the microsomal oxidizing system. Lecithin, an important class of phospholipids contains choline, which is considered as lipotropic factor. The effects of this lecithin as a hepatoprotective drug on body weight and antioxidant status of ethanol-exposed rats were studied. The results were compared with the effects of tocopheryl acetate. From the present study, it can be concluded that ethanol-induced stress can be partly prevented by tocopheryl acetate, and showed best result. Abstination from alcohol also involved for little hepatic regeneration. Supplementation of lecithin showed better effect compared to abstination from alcohol on reversing the effect of ethanol induced liver damage in the present study. Moreover, preventive measures were found to be better than curative treatment. Antioxidants are likely to provide beneficial effects on hepatocyes via desensitization against oxidant stress while inhibiting primary mechanism for expression of proinflammatory and cytotoxic mediators. However, abstinence from alcohol, proper nutrition, and supplementation of antioxidants, vitamins and hepatoprotective drugs are some of the therapeutic options.

Keywords: Glutathione; Lecithin; Oxidative stress; S-Adenosyl methionine; Tocopherol.