Background: Carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induces hepatotoxicity in animal models, including the increased blood flow and cytokine accumulation that are characteristic of tissue inflammation. The present study investigates the hepato-protective effect of rutin on CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in rats.
Results: Forty male Wistar rats were divided into four groups. Group I (control group) received 1 mL/kg of dimethyl sulfoxide intragastrically and 3 mL/kg olive oil intraperitoneally twice a week for 4 weeks. Group II received 70 mg/kg rutin intragastrically. Groups III and IV received CCl4 (3 mL/kg, 30 % in olive oil) intraperitoneally twice a week for 4 weeks. Group IV received 70 mg/kg rutin intragastrically after 48 h of CCl4 treatment. Liver enzyme levels were determined in all studied groups. Expression of the following genes were monitored with real-time PCR: interleukin-6 (IL-6), dual-specificity protein kinase 5 (MEK5), Fas-associated death domain protein (FADD), epidermal growth factor (EGF), signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3), Janus kinase (JAK), B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl2) and B-cell lymphoma-extra-large (Bcl-XL). The CCl4 groups showed significant increases in biochemical markers of hepatotoxicity and up-regulation of expression levels of IL-6, Bcl-XL, MEK5, FADD, EGF, STAT3 and JAK compared with the control group. However, CCl4 administration resulted in significant down-regulation of Bcl2 expression compared with the control group. Interestingly, rutin supplementation completely reversed the biochemical markers of hepatotoxicity and the gene expression alterations induced by CCl4.
Conclusion: CCl4 administration causes alteration in expression of IL-6/STAT3 pathway genes, resulting in hepatotoxicity. Rutin protects against CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity by reversing these expression changes.