Protective Effects of Ethanolic Extracts from Artichoke, an Edible Herbal Medicine, against Acute Alcohol-Induced Liver Injury in Mice

Nutrients. 2017 Sep 11;9(9):1000. doi: 10.3390/nu9091000.


Oxidative stress and inflammation are well-documented pathological factors in alcoholic liver disease (ALD). Artichoke (Cynara scolymus L.) is a healthy food and folk medicine with anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties. This study aimed to evaluate the preventive effects of ethanolic extract from artichoke against acute alcohol-induced liver injury in mice. Male Institute of Cancer Research mice were treated with an ethanolic extract of artichoke (0.4, 0.8, and 1.6 g/kg body weight) by gavage once daily. Up to 40% alcohol (12 mL/kg body weight) was administered orally 1 h after artichoke treatment. All mice were fed for 10 consecutive days. Results showed that artichoke extract significantly prevented elevated levels of aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, triglyceride, total cholesterol, and malondialdehyde. Meanwhile, the decreased levels of superoxide dismutase and glutathione were elevated by artichoke administration. Histopathological examination showed that artichoke attenuated degeneration, inflammatory infiltration and necrosis of hepatocytes. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that expression levels of toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) in liver tissues were significantly suppressed by artichoke treatment. Results obtained demonstrated that artichoke extract exhibited significant preventive protective effect against acute alcohol-induced liver injury. This finding is mainly attributed to its ability to attenuate oxidative stress and suppress the TLR4/NF-κB inflammatory pathway. To the best of our knowledge, the underlying mechanisms of artichoke on acute ALD have been rarely reported.

Keywords: TLR4/NF-κB pathway; acute alcohol liver disease; artichoke; inflammation; oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cynara scolymus / chemistry*
  • Glutathione / blood
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Diseases, Alcoholic / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / blood
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • NF-kappa B / genetics
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / blood
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Antioxidants
  • NF-kappa B
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tlr4 protein, mouse
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • Triglycerides
  • Malondialdehyde
  • Cholesterol
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Glutathione