Context: Several biological effects of Paullinia cupana (guarana) have been demonstrated, but little information is available on its effects on the liver.
Objective: The current study was designed to evaluate the hepatoprotective and genoprotective effects of powder seeds from guarana on CCl4-induced liver injury in rats.
Materials and methods: Male Wistar rats were pretreated with guarana powder (100, 300 and 600 mg/kg) or silymarin 100 mg/kg daily for 14 days before treatment with a single dose of CCl4 (50% CCl4, 1 mL/kg, intraperitoneally).
Results: The treatment with CCl4 significantly increased the serum activities of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST). In addition, CCl4 increased the DNA damage index in hepatocytes. Guarana in all concentrations was effective in decreasing the ALT and AST activities when compared with the CCl4-treated group. The treatment with guarana decreased DNA damage index when compared with the CCl4-treated group. In addition, the DNA damage index showed a significant positive correlation with AST and ALT.
Discussion and conclusion: These results indicate that the guarana has hepatoprotective activity and prevents the DNA strand breakage in the CCl4-induced liver damage in rats.
Keywords: Genoprotection; Paullinia cupanna; liver; medicinal plants.