Curcumin and Baicalin ameliorate ethanol-induced liver oxidative damage via the Nrf2/HO-1 pathway

J Food Biochem. 2020 Aug 8;e13425. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13425. Online ahead of print.


One of the key mechanisms of alcoholic liver disease is oxidative stress. Both Curcumin and Baicalin exert antioxidant effects, but the mechanism of their combined effects of ethanol-induced liver injury is still unclear. This study was conducted to evaluate the dual antioxidant activity of Curcumin combined with Baicalin against ethanol-induced liver injury in rats. Rats were divided into five groups, a control, ethanol, ethanol + Curcumin (50 mg/kg), ethanol + Baicalin (50 mg/kg), and ethanol + Curcumin +Baicalin group with ten rats per group. The effects of ethanol on liver enzymes, oxidative stress indicators and the levels of Nrf2/HO-1 pathway related proteins and mRNA were observed along with liver histopathology in rats. Our results found that the serum ALT and AKP levels were increased in ethanol-treated rats, which also showed a rising trend of 8-OHdG and LPO levels while hydroxyl radical scavenging ability, T-AOC, and the activities of SOD and GSH-Px were decreased in liver. The mRNA levels of Nrf2 and HO-1, the ratio of p-Nrf2/Nrf2, the protein level of HO-1 were decreased while NQO1 mRNA level, Nrf2, p-Nrf2, and NQO1 protein levels were increased in ethanol-treated rats. Combination treatment of Curcumin and Baicalin significantly reversed the ethanol-induced liver oxidative damage and further activate the Nrf2/HO-1 pathway, which was more effective than each drug alone. In conclusion, evidence has shown for the first time in this study that Curcumin combined with Baicalin ameliorated ethanol-induced liver oxidative damage in rats and revealed liver-protection. PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS: Many drugs for treating alcoholic liver disease are available commercially, but some adverse effects they have may cause secondary damage to the liver. At present, the combined treatment of different natural phytochemicals has attracted special attention in modern medicine. Curcumin, a kind of phytochemicals, is extracted from turmeric rhizome. Baicalin is one of the major active components of Scutellaria Baicalensis. The current research is to explore the antioxidant effect of Curcumin and Baicalin in ethanol-induced liver injury in rats. Our research proves that Curcumin combined with Baicalin on ethanol-induced liver oxidative damage is superior to single drug treatment. Therefore, the combination of Curcumin and Baicalin may provide a more prospective natural remedy to combat ethanol-induced liver injury.

Keywords: Baicalin; Curcumin; Nrf2/HO-1 pathway; ethanol; hepatic toxicity; oxidative stress.