Lycium europaeum Linn as a source of polysaccharide with in vitro antioxidant activities and in vivo anti-inflammatory and hepato-nephroprotective potentials

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Oct 28;225:116-127. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.06.036. Epub 2018 Jun 27.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Lycium europaeum Linn. is widely used to treat the burning of the skin and well-known as a medicinal plant having various biological activities.

Aims of the study: The purpose of the present study is to characterize the polysaccharide from L. europaeum L. leaves (LEP) and to explore its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepato-nephroprotective properties.

Materials and methods: The structural and functional characteristics of LEP were investigated using X-ray diffraction techniques (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), and FT-IR Spectroscopy. The antioxidant activity was evaluated using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl and hydrogen peroxide scavenging assays. Hepato-renal effects were studied using CCl4 and cisplatin-induced liver and kidney injuries in mice, respectively. Anti-inflammatory activity was assessed on carrageenan-induced paw edema.

Results: The LEP showed an interesting water-holding capacity and effective foaming and emulsifying properties. XRD analysis suggested that LEP form a semi-crystalline polymer with an amorphous structure. FT-IR profile showed the presence of pyranose ring in LEP. SEM and helix-coil transition analyses indicated that LEP had a lamellar structure with angular edges and didn't present a triple helical conformation in solution. In vitro, LEP indicated significant concentration-dependent antioxidant activity. In vivo, LEP treatment significantly reduced the effects of CCl4 intoxication on serum liver biomarkers (AST, ALT, LDH, and GGT) and the effect of cisplatin on serum renal biomarkers (urea, blood urea nitrogen, creatinine, and uric acid). Meanwhile, LEP diminishes significantly the effect of CCl4 and cisplatin on the level of lipid peroxidation in liver and kidney tissues, respectively. Additionally, the normal histological structure of liver and kidney was restored after treatment with the polysaccharide. LEP possessed a significant anti-inflammatory activity on acute inflammation induced by carrageenan in mice.

Conclusion: Overall, the findings of this study support the traditional use of L. europaeum L. This plant may also be used as a good agent for protection against inflammatory diseases and hepato-renal injuries in patients with cancer.

Keywords: Anti-inflammatory; Antioxidant; Functional properties; Hepato-nephroprotective; Lycium europaeum L.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use*
  • Biphenyl Compounds / chemistry
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • Carrageenan
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / blood
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / drug therapy*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Cisplatin
  • Edema / drug therapy
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / chemistry
  • Kidney / drug effects
  • Kidney / pathology
  • Kidney Diseases / blood
  • Kidney Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Lycium*
  • Mice
  • Picrates / chemistry
  • Plant Leaves
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • Picrates
  • Polysaccharides
  • Carrageenan
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Carbon Tetrachloride
  • 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl
  • Cisplatin