Hepatoprotective effects of litchi (Litchi chinensis) procyanidin A2 on carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury in ICR mice.
Exp Ther Med. 2017 Jun ;13(6):2839-2847. Epub 2017 Apr 18. PMID: 28587348
Drug tolerance, lacking liver regenerative activity and inconclusive inhibition of steatosis and cirrhosis by silymarin treatment during chronic liver injury have increased the demand for novel alternative or synergistic treatments for liver damage. Litchi fruit is abundant in polyphenolic compounds and is used in traditional Chinese medicine for treatments that include the strengthening of hepatic and pancreatic functions. Unique polyphenolic compounds obtained from litchi pericarp extract (LPE) were studied in vitro and in vivo for hepatoprotection. Epicatechin (EC) and procyanidin A2 (PA2) of LPE were obtained by fractionated-extraction from pulverized litchi pericarps. All fractions, including LPE, were screened against silymarin in carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-treated murine embryonic liver cell line (BNL). The effects of daily gavage-feeding of LPE, silymarin (200 mg/kg body weight) or H2O in CCl4-intoxicated male ICR mice were evaluated by studying serum chemicals, liver pathology and glutathione antioxidative enzymes. The effects of EC and PA2 on liver cell regenerative activity were investigated using a scratch wound healing assay and flow cytometric cell cycle analysis; the results of which demonstrated that LPE protected BNL from CCl4-intoxication. Gavage-feeding of LPE decreased serum glutamic oxaloacetate transaminase and glutamic pyruvic transaminase levels, and exhibited superior retention of the hexagonal structure of hepatocytes and reduced necrotic cells following liver histopathological examinations in CCl4-intoxicated ICR mice. Glutathione peroxidise and glutathione reductase activities were preserved as the normal control level in LPE groups. EC and PA2 were principle components of LPE. PA2 demonstrated liver cell regenerative activity in scratch wound healing assays and alcohol-induced liver cell injury in vitro. The present findings suggest that litchi pericarp polyphenolic extracts, including EC and PA2, may be a synergistic alternative to silymarin in hepatoprotection and liver cell regeneration.