Paracetamol, the most commonly sold over-the-counter antipyretic analgesic, is generally considered harmless at therapeutic doses. However, paracetamol overdose causes severe and sometimes fatal hepatic damage in humans and experimental animals. This study was undertaken to examine the effects of Zingiber officinale (ginger) on paracetamol induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Rats were given ginger (1% w/w in the diet) 7 days prior to induction of paracetamol hepatotoxicity (1 g/kg bwt p.o) orally for 21 days. Paracetamol induced severe liver damage as assessed by increased serum liver marker enzymes, hypoalbuminemia with hyperglobulinemia. Paracetamol induced hepatic lipid peroxidation with reduction in reduced glutathione and antioxidant enzymes. Also, paracetamol caused changes in serum lipid profile. Unfortunately, away from general notion, ginger fails to protect against paracetamol induced hepatic injuries but enhance its adverse effects on liver as evident by high increase in serum globulin fractions with decreased serum albumin, increased serum activities of AST, LDH, ALP and GGT, reduced hepatic activities of antioxidant enzymes (GST, GR and GPX) and reduced glutathione level. In conclusion, ginger fails to protect rats against paracetamol induced chronic hepatotoxicity but enhance its adverse effects on liver.
Key words: Paracetamol, ginger, hepatotoxicity, glutathione, antioxidant.
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