Pre-administration of turmeric prevents methotrexate-induced liver toxicity and oxidative stress

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2015 Jul 22;15:246. doi: 10.1186/s12906-015-0773-6.


Background: Methotrexate (MTX) is an antimetabolite broadly used in treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases. MTX-induced hepatotoxicity limits its application. We investigated hepatoprotective effects of turmeric in MTX-induced liver toxicity.

Methods: All experiments were performed on male Wistar albino rats that were randomly divided into six groups. Group one received saline orally for 30 days (control group), groups two and three received turmeric extract (100, 200 mg/kg respectively) orally for 30 days, group four received single dose, of MTX IP at day 30, groups five and six received turmeric extract 100 and 200 mg/kg orally respectively for 30 days and single dose of methoterxate IP (20 mg/kg) at day 30. Four days after MTX injection animals were sacrificed and evaluated. Blood ALT and AST (indicators of hepatocyte injury), ALP and bilirubin (markers of biliary function), albumin (reflect liver synthetic function) as well as the plasma TAS concentration (antioxidant defenses) were determined. The cellular antioxidant defense activities were examined in liver tissue samples using SOD, CAT, and GSH-Px for the oxidative stress, and MDA for lipid peroxidation. In addition, liver damage was evaluated histopathologically.

Results: MTX significantly induced liver damage (P<0.05) and decreased its antioxidant capacity, while turmeric was hepatoprotective. Liver tissue microscopic evaluation showed that MTX treatment induced severe centrilobular and periportal degeneration, hyperemia of portal vein, increased artery inflammatory cells infiltration and necrosis, while all of histopathological changes were attenuated by turmeric (200 mg/kg).

Conclusion: Turmeric extract can successfully attenuate MTX-hepatotoxicity. The effect is partly mediated through extract's antinflammatory activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / metabolism
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / pathology
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury* / prevention & control
  • Curcuma
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Male
  • Methotrexate / toxicity*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • turmeric extract
  • Methotrexate