Punica granatum (pomegranate) flower extract possesses potent antioxidant activity and abrogates Fe-NTA induced hepatotoxicity in mice

Gurpreet Kaur, Zoobi Jabbar, Mohammad Athar, M Sarwar Alam
Food and Chemical Toxicology 2006, 44 (7): 984-93
Most pomegranate (Punica granatum Linn., Punicaceae) fruit parts are known to possess enormous antioxidant activity. The present study evaluated antioxidant and hepatoprotective activity of pomegranate flowers. Alcoholic (ethanolic) extract of flowers was prepared and used in the present study. The extract was found to contain a large amount of polyphenols and exhibit enormous reducing ability, both indicative of potent antioxidant ability. The extract showed 81.6% antioxidant activity in DPPH model system. The ability of extract to scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) was tested and it was found to significantly scavenge superoxide (O(2)(.-)) (by up to 53.3%), hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) (by up to 30%), hydroxyl radicals (()OH) (by up to 37%) and nitric oxide (NO) (by up to 74.5%). The extract also inhibited (.)OH induced oxidation of lipids and proteins in vitro. These results indicated pomegranate flower extract to exert a significant antioxidant activity in vitro. The efficacy of extract was tested in vivo and it was found to exhibit a potent protective activity in acute oxidative tissue injury animal model: ferric nitrilotriacetate (Fe-NTA) induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Intraperitoneal administration of 9 mg/kg body wt. Fe-NTA to mice induced oxidative stress and liver injury. Pretreatment with pomegranate flower extract at a dose regimen of 50-150 mg/kg body wt. for a week significantly and dose dependently protected against Fe-NTA induced oxidative stress as well as hepatic injury. The extract afforded up to 60% protection against hepatic lipid peroxidation and preserved glutathione (GSH) levels and activities of antioxidant enzymes viz., catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPX) glutathione reductase (GR) and glutathione-S-transferase (GST) by up to 36%, 28.5%, 28.7%, 40.2% and 42.5% respectively. A protection against Fe-NTA induced liver injury was apparent as inhibition in the modulation of liver markers viz., aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), bilirubin and albumin in serum. The histopathological changes produced by Fe-NTA, such as ballooning degeneration, fatty changes, necrosis were also alleviated by the extract. These results indicate pomegranate flowers to possess potent antioxidant and hepatoprotective property, the former being probably responsible for the latter.

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