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Hepatoprotective and body weight lowering effects of the aqueous leaf extract of Phyllanthus pentandrus Schumach. and Thonn (Phyllanthaceae) in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease induced by a high-fat diet in Wistar rats

Aminu Chika, Shaibu Oricha Bello.

Background: Some members of the genus Phyllanthus have been widely used in global traditional medicine to manage a variety of liver diseases and experimentally documented to have hepatoprotective activity. However, it is not known whether Phyllanthus pentandrus (PP) (a member of the genus endogenous to Northwestern Nigeria) possesses hepatoprotective properties.

Aims and Objective: The objective was to investigate the hepatoprotective and body weight lowering effects of the aqueous leaf extract of PP using a high-fat diet (HFD)-induced rat model of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Materials and Methods: After obtaining ethical permission from a departmental committee, Wistar rats were randomly assigned to one of the following treatments for 7 weeks: vehicle + normal diet, vehicle + HFD, orlistat + HFD (at 400 mg/1000 g of HFD), or the PP extract +HFD (500 mg/100 g of HFD). Serum levels of liver enzymes (alkaline phosphatase [ALP], aspartate transaminase [AST], and alanine transaminase), conjugated and total bilirubin were determined. Determination of final body weight gain, adipose tissue weight, liver weight, as well as liver histology, was also performed on the animals.

Results: Compared with normal controls, HFD-fed rats exhibited a significant elevation in ALP, severe liver steatosis, body weight gain, and increased adipose tissue mass. Treatment with the PP extract prevented the increase in the level of ALP, reduced the serum level of AST and ameliorated the hepatic steatosis, and adipose tissue gain.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that PP may be beneficial in the management of NAFLD commonly associated with obesity.

Key words: Phyllanthus pentandrus; Fatty Liver; High-Fat Diet; Rats

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