Virgin coconut oil protects against liver damage in albino rats challenged with the anti-folate combination, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 May 1;25(2):249-53. doi: 10.1515/jbcpp-2013-0059.


Background: Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. However, its use is associated with toxic reactions. Virgin coconut oil (VCO), derived from coconut, has been widely used throughout history for its medicinal value. The aim of this study was to investigate the beneficial actions of VCO against TMP-SMX-induced alterations in serum biochemical end points.

Methods: Twenty rats were divided into four groups. Group 1 (control) received no drug, whereas group 2 received TMP-SMX (8/40 mg/kg) twice daily for 7 days. Group 3 was administered coconut oil at a dose of 600 mg/kg body weight per day. The last group was treated with TMP-SMX (8/40 mg/kg) and coconut oil (600 mg/kg) simultaneously. Blood samples were collected from all groups on the 8th day of the experiment for measurement of serum biochemical parameters. Organ weights and coefficients were also evaluated.

Results: TMP-SMX caused a significant (p<0.05) increase in the levels of serum total bilirubin, lactate dehydrogenase, and alkaline phosphatase by 192%, 67%, and 41%, respectively, relative to controls. This was followed by a significant reduction in triglyceride and relative kidney weight by 40% and 7%, respectively. There were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the activities of serum aminotransferases, total acid phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transferase, uric acid, cholesterol, albumin, and urea levels. Supplementation of VCO ameliorated TMP-SMX-induced effects by restoring the levels of total bilirubin, alkaline phospahatase, and lactate dehydrogenase.

Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate that the active components of coconut oil had protective effects against the toxic effects induced by TMP-SMX administration, especially in the liver of rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents / toxicity*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / blood
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / etiology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / prevention & control*
  • Coconut Oil
  • Folic Acid Antagonists / toxicity*
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney Function Tests
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Plant Oils / administration & dosage
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination / toxicity*


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Biomarkers
  • Folic Acid Antagonists
  • Plant Oils
  • Trimethoprim, Sulfamethoxazole Drug Combination
  • Coconut Oil