Beneficial role of virgin coconut oil supplementation against acute methotrexate chemotherapy-induced oxidative toxicity and inflammation in rats

Integr Med Res. 2018 Sep;7(3):257-263. doi: 10.1016/j.imr.2018.05.001. Epub 2018 May 14.


Background: Methotrexate (MTX) is a commonly used antineoplastic and anti-rheumatoid agent whose efficacy is limited by marked organ toxicities associated with oxidative stress. The study investigated beneficial effect of virgin coconut oil (VCO) supplementation on MTX-induced oxidative stress and inflammation in rats.

Methods: Rats were divided into 4 groups (n = 6): Control, MTX (20 mg/kg bw), VCO (5%) + MTX and VCO (15%) + MTX. The pre-treatment with VCO for 14 days was followed by single intraperitoneal injection of MTX and the rats were sacrificed after 3 days. Serum activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) and malondialdehyde (MDA) were determined. Interleukin-6 (IL-6), C-reactive protein (CRP) and nitric oxide (NO) levels were also evaluated.

Results: MTX induced a distinct diminution in serum activities of oxidative stress markers (SOD, CAT, GPx and GSH), while lipid peroxidation considerably increased demonstrated by MDA level. Similarly, levels of IL-6, CRP and NO increased prominently in MTX control rats. The VCO supplementation markedly enhanced resistance to the MTX-induced biochemical alterations in rats.

Conclusion: VCO can be a useful adjuvant natural product in MTX chemotherapy by reducing oxidative stress and pro-inflammatory responses.

Keywords: Inflammation; Methotrexate; Oxidative stress; Supplementation; Virgin coconut oil.