This study aimed to assess the preventive effects of Camellia sinensis (green tea) leaf aqueous extract and epicatechin and to scrutinize their possible mechanisms of action in doxorubicin-induced liver injury. Phytochemical screening of Camellia sinensis aqueous extract was performed by LC/ESI-MS/MS that revealed the presence of epicatechin and other polyphenols. Male Wistar rats were intraperitoneally injected with doxorubicin (4 mg/kg/week) and were orally treated with Camellia sinensis aqueous extract (200 mg/kg) or epicatechin (25 mg/kg) every other day for 6 weeks. The treatments of doxorubicin-injected rats with the extract and epicatechin resulted in a marked amelioration of the deteriorated effects on albumin, AFP and total bilirubin levels as well as ALT, AST, ALP and GGT activities. The treatments also alleviated the altered serum TNF-α and IL-4, liver LPO and GSH levels as well as liver SOD, GPx and GST activities. In association, the expression of liver NF-κB, COX-2, p53 and caspase-3 was remarkably decreased, the expression of Bcl-2 was significantly increased, and the liver histological architecture were remarkably amended by treatments. Camellia sinensis aqueous extract and epicatechin may have effective chemopreventive potentials against doxorubicin-induced hepatotoxicity via reinforcement of antioxidant defense system and attenuation of the inflammatory and apoptotic effects.
Key words: Camellia sinensis; epicatechin; doxorubicin; hepatotoxicity; rats