Lead (Pb) is a toxic ubiquitous environmental pollutant that induces hepatotoxicity in both animals and humans. The ability of Nigella saliva seeds (NSS) in ameliorating lead acetate (PbAc)-induced hepatic oxidative damage was investigated using a rabbit model. Forty New Zealand rabbits were given feed and water ad libitum. They were allocated randomly into four groups: control; PbAc (5g/L drinking water); NSS (20g/kg diet) and NSS+PbAc groups. After two months, liver samples were collected and analyzed for malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH), glutathione S-transferase (GST) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) contents. Purification and characterization of GPx were also evaluated. PbAc exposure significantly (p<0.05) increased MDA (lipid peroxidation biomarker) and reduced the GSH levels and the GST and GPx activities. Concurrently supplemented NSS significantly (p<0.05) decreased MDA levels and restored the GSH, GST, and GPx contents successfully. Electrophoretically, the homogeneous GPx preparation from the liver had a specific activity of 30.44 U/mg protein and a yield of 1.31%. The Km values for cumene hydroperoxide were 4.76μM in control, PbAc and NSS+PbAc groups, and 4.09μM in NSS group. The GPx reaction had a temperature optimum 40°C, pH optimum 8 and molecular weight 21 kDa. The obtained data indicated the potent efficacy of NSS against PbAc-induced oxidative stress; that was mediated through induction and activation of antioxidants, particularly GPx and scavenging free radicals. Moreover, the purified hepatic GPx is characterized as a selenoprotein (Se-GPx).
Keywords: Antioxidants; Enzyme purification; Lead toxicity; Nigella sativa; Oxidative stress; Protein expression.
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