In this study we investigated if ghrelin plays a protective role against paracetamol-induced acute hepatotoxicity in rats and the possible mechanism of action. Forty adult male albino rats were divided into four equal groups; control, ghrelin, paracetamol and ghrelin plus paracetamol. Evaluations were made for lipid peroxidation, enzyme activities and biochemical parameters. Liver histopathology was also performed. Paracetamol (PCM) treatment increased plasma and liver tissue malondialdehyde (MDA) content and plasma nitric oxide (NO) level, and decreased erythrocyte and liver tissue superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities when compared to control group. At the same time, PCM treatment increased the serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activities. By contrast, ghrelin pretreatment reduced plasma and liver MDA content and plasma NO level, and increased erythrocyte, liver tissue SOD, CAT and GPx activities when compared with paracetamol-treated group. The PCM-induced histopathological changes were also reduced by the ghrelin pretreatment. In conclusion, our results proved that ghrelin was found to protect the liver against paracetamol-induced oxidative damage in rats and the hepatoprotective effect may be correlated with its antioxidant effect.
Key words: Antioxidant, ghrelin, hepatoprotective, hepatotoxicity, paracetamol.
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