Cynara scolymus is a pharmacologically important medicinal plant containing phenolic acids and flavonoids. Experimental studies indicate antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of C. scolymus but there have been no studies about therapeutic effects of liver diseases yet. In the present study, hepatocurative effects of C. scolymus leaf extract on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced oxidative stress and hepatic injury in rats were investigated by serum hepatic enzyme levels, oxidative stress indicator (malondialdehyde-MDA), endogenous antioxidants, DNA fragmentation, p53, caspase 3 and histopathology. Animals were divided into six groups: control, olive oil, CCl4, C. scolymus leaf extract, recovery and curative. CCl4 was administered at a dose of 0.2 mL/kg twice daily on CCl4, recovery and curative groups. Cynara scolymus extract was given orally for 2 weeks at a dose of 1.5 g/kg after CCl4 application on the curative group. Significant decrease of serum alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate-aminotransferase (AST) levels were determined in the curative group. MDA levels were significantly lower in the curative group. Significant increase of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT) activity in the curative group was determined. In the curative group, C. scolymus leaf extract application caused the DNA % fragmentation, p53 and caspase 3 levels of liver tissues towards the normal range. Our results indicated that C. scolymus leaf extract has hepatocurative effects of on CCl4-induced oxidative stress and hepatic injury by reducing lipid peroxidation, providing affected antioxidant systems towards the normal range. It also had positive effects on the pathway of the regulatory mechanism allowing repair of DNA damage on CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity.
Keywords: CCl4; Caspase 3; Cynara scolymus; DNA fragmentation; Hepatocurative effect; p53.