Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects of Boswellia serrate gum resin in CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity

Exp Ther Med. 2020 Feb;19(2):1313-1321. doi: 10.3892/etm.2019.8353. Epub 2019 Dec 19.


The present study aims to investigate the potential antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic effects of Boswellia serrate (BS) gum resin against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver damage. Four groups consisting of eight rats each were designated: Group I, normal healthy control; group II, CCl4-induced liver fibrosis; group III, CCl4-induced liver fibrosis followed by BS treatment daily for two weeks; and group IV, CCl4-induced liver fibrosis followed by silymarin treatment daily for two weeks. Expression of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and nuclear factor κB (NF-κB), interleukin-6 (IL-6), transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) were assessed, in addition to histopathological and fibrotic changes in liver tissues isolated from the rats. BS significantly ameliorated CCl4-induced increases in serum aspartate (AST) and alanine transaminase (ALT) levels, reduced lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities in addition to restoring total bilirubin, triglyceride and albumin levels. BS treatment also alleviated oxidative stress and improved total antioxidant capacity in the liver, and reduced the expression of TNF-α, NF-κB, TGF-β, IL-6 and COX-2. On a histopathological level, BS treatment also exhibited antifibrotic activity. In conclusion, these findings suggest that BS contains potentially hepatoprotective effects against CCl4-induced liver injury via its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antifibrotic characteristics.

Keywords: boswellia serrata; cyclooxygenase-2; hepatoprotective; interleukin-6; liver fibrosis; transforming growth factor-β.