Effect of N-Acetyl cysteine on Moringa oleifera aqueous leaf extract-induced hepatotoxicity in Wistar Albino rats
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Background: Moringa oleifera (M. oleifera) is a highly valued medicinal plant widely used to treat various ailments. It has a variety of nutritional and medicinal properties that are attributed to the various phytochemical compounds present in the plant. However, following chronic use, organ toxicity mainly to the liver is reported. This toxicity can be prevented or reversed using antioxidants like N-acetyl cysteine (NAC). There is no published study documenting the effect of NAC in M. oleifera aqueous leaf extract-induced hepatotoxicity. The study sought to determine the protective and reversal effect of NAC in M. oleifera aqueous leaf extract-induced hepatotoxicity. Aims: To determine the protective and reversal effect of N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) on M. oleifera aqueous leaf extract- induced hepatotoxicity in Wistar albino rats. Methods: An experimental laboratory-based study was conducted on 54 Wistar Albino rats grouped into 9 groups (A-I) each with 6 rats. Group A received normal saline (1ml) + M. oleifera leaf extract (8.05g/kg), group B received paracetamol (750mg/kg) + NAC (50mg/kg), and group C received M. oleifera leaf extract (8.05g/kg) + NAC (50mg/kg) administered orally by using an intra-gastric tube for 28 days. Group D-H received a toxic dose (8.05g/kg) of M. oleifera leaf extract and group I received Normal saline (1ml) administered orally by using an intra-gastric tube for 28 days. Thereafter, animals in group D-H (hepatotoxic rats) were dosed with different oral doses of NAC for 7 days to assess for the activity of NAC in M. oleifera leaf extract-induced hepatotoxicity. The serum AST, ALT, ALP and bilirubin level changes were determined on day 0, 14 and 28 for group A-C and on day 28, 31, and 35 for groups D-I. All animals were sacrificed by dosing them with pentobarbital (86mg/kg IV), then the liver was harvested and prepared for histopathological examination. Animals were handled basing on the standard guidelines. Statistical analysis was performed using GraphPad prism 8.0a Software. Results: The rats treated with a combination of 50mg/kg of NAC and a toxic dose 8.05g/kg of M. oleifera leaf extract on average showed normal AST, ALT, ALP and bilirubin levels with no significant change in the total protein levels. The hepatotoxic rats treated with NAC at doses of 1000mg/kg, 1200mg/kg and 1500mg/kg, showed normal liver enzymes and bilirubin levels. The liver histopathological analysis showed mild features of hepatitis even after treatment with NAC. Conclusion: NAC provides delayed protection (28 days) to the liver when co-administered with a toxic dose 8.05g/kg of M. oleifera aqueous leaf extract and reverses M. oleifera aqueous leaf extract-induced hepatotoxicity in Wistar Albino rats.