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Hemidesmus indicus Protects against ethanol-induced liver toxicity


Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is one of the most common diseases in modern society. A large number of studies are in progress aiming to identify natural substances that would be effective in reducing the severity of ALD. Although there are currently a number of drugs on the market, their long-term use can have numerous side effects. Hemidesmus indicus is an indigenous Ayurvedic medicinal plant used in soft drinks in India. In this study, we examined the effects of its ethanolic root extract on experimental liver damage in order to evaluate its hepatoprotective effects against hepatotoxicity induced in rats by ethanol at a dosage of 5 g/kg body weight for 60 days. The H. indicus root extract was given at a dose of 500 mg/kg body weight for the last 30 days of the experiment. The animals were monitored for food intake and weight gain. The liver was analysed for the degree of lipid peroxidation using thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) and antioxidant status using the activities of glutathione-depedendant enzymes. The degree of liver damage was analysed using serum marker enzyme activities, the total protein, albumin, globulin, ceruloplasmin and liver glycogen contents, and the A/G ratio. The Fourier transform infrared spectra (FT-IR) of the liver tissues were recorded in the region of 4000–400 cm−1. The ethanol-fed rats showed significantly elevated liver marker enzyme activities, lipid peroxidation levels and reduced antioxidant levels as compared to the control rats. Oral administration of H. indicus for the latter 30 days resulted in an increased food intake and weight gain, decreased TBARS levels, near normal levels of glutathione-dependent enzymes, increased total protein, albumin, globulin and liver glycogen contents, an increased A/G ratio, and decreased liver marker enzyme activities and ceruloplasmin levels. The relative intensity of the liver FT-IR bands for the experimental groups were found to be altered significantly (p < 0.05) compared to the control samples. For the group that had H. indicus co-administered with ethanol, the intensity of the bands was near normal. Moreover, the results of the FT-IR study correlated with our biochemical results.


A/G ratio:

albumin/globulin ratio


alcoholic liver disease


alkaline phosphatase


alanine aminotransferase


aspartate aminotransferase


carboxy methyl cellulose


fourier transform infrared


γ glutamyl transpeptidase


glutathione peroxidase


glutathione reductase


reduced glutathione




2-hydroxy 4-methoxy benzoic acid


lactate dehydrogenase


reactive oxygen species


thiobarbituric acid reactive substances


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Saravanan, N., Nalini, N. Hemidesmus indicus Protects against ethanol-induced liver toxicity. Cell Mol Biol Lett 13, 20–37 (2008).

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Key words

  • FT-IR spectroscopy
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Hemidesmus indicus
  • Rat liver