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Tigernut (Cyperus esculentus L.) ‘milk’ as a potent ‘nutri-drink’ for the prevention of acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in a murine model

Nnenna Ola Onuoha; Nneoma Oleh Ogbusua; Augustine N Okorie; Chukwunonso E.C.C. Ejike.

Aim/Background: Given the prevalence of toxicants in foods, beauty products, etc., and the increasing demand for ‘green’ products, there is a need for the development of ‘nutri-drinks’ with hepatoprotective properties. The usefulness of tigernut milk (TNM) in preventing acetaminophen-induced liver injury was therefore investigated. Materials and Methods: Twenty five rats were randomized into five equal groups. Four groups were treated with 0, 500, 1000 and 2000 kg/mg bw TNM, respectively, per os for two weeks before they were challenged with 2500 mg/kg bw acetaminophen. Biochemical markers of hepatotoxicity and oxidative stress were determined in the sera of the rats at the end of the study. Results: Serum alanine aminotransferase concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.001) and dose-dependently from 334.3±16.1 in the negative control group to 65.4±8.3 in the 2000 mg.kg-1 bw TNM group. Other studied liver enzymes were similarly dose-dependently reduced. These data are corroborated by histological findings. Superoxide dismutase activity (U.mg-1 protein) was increased significantly (P < 0.001) from 108.0±7.4 in the negative control group to 291.0±11.3 in the 2000 mg.kg-1 bw TNM group, and indeed all the test groups. The malondialdehyde concentrations in the test rats were slightly lower than that of the negative control group. Conclusion: TNM at the tested concentrations significantly prevented liver injury. Phytochemicals in TNM, working directly as antioxidants or indirectly by inducing the synthesis of glutathione, may be responsible for the observed effect.

Key words: acetaminophen;hepatotoxicity;prevention;tigernut milk

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