Extract of Citrus maxima (pummelo) leaves improve hepatoprotective activity in Wistar rats submitted to the induction of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis

Biomed Pharmacother. 2018 Feb;98:338-346. doi: 10.1016/j.biopha.2017.12.070. Epub 2017 Dec 27.


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a spectrum of liver changes, ranging from hepatic steatosis to hepatocellular carcinoma. The Citrus maxima (CM) has been shown to be beneficial to the organism, and these activities are attributed to the presence of phytochemical compounds. The objective of this study was to evaluate the n vitro antioxidant potential of the CM leaves extract and on Wistar rats submitted to hepatic steatosis induction by fructose-associated hyperlipid diet (FHD). For the evaluation of in vivo effects, the animals were distributed in G1 (normal diet - ND), G2 (FHD), G3 (ND + extract 50mg/kg) and G4 (FHD + extract 50 mg/kg). All the parameters were determined through classical methodologies. The extract showed a significant antioxidant potential in vitro. In the in vivo analysis, the diet used was able to induce the development of metabolic abnormalities that favored the formation of hepatic steatosis (G2). Changes in inflammatory markers, increase in markers of oxidative damage, and reduction of antioxidant defenses were also observed. In addition, the extract did not cause changes in the animals' weight gain and acted as an anti-inflammatory, since G4 animals exhibited significantly reduced levels of the inflammatory markers. In the liver, the extract significantly decreased the content of fat, cholesterol and triglycerides compared to G2. The extract also showed antioxidant activity (G4) when compared to G2. The results suggest that the extract of CM leaf showed hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and the presence of phenolic compounds is a probable cause for such activities.

Keywords: Citrus maxima; Hepatoprotective; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Oxidative stress; Phytochemicals.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Cholesterol / metabolism
  • Citrus / chemistry*
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol