Protective effects of coumarin and coumarin derivatives against carbon tetrachloride-induced acute hepatotoxicity in rats.
ABSTRACT The comparison of the antioxidant activity of some coumarins with their molecular structure is well determined. However, the protective function of coumarins with various chemical structures against liver toxicity has not yet been well established. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the possible cytoprotective properties of coumarin and some coumarin derivatives against CCl(4) (carbon tetrachloride)-induced hepatotoxicity. Coumarin (1,2-benzopyrone) and coumarin derivatives esculetin (6,7-dihydroxycoumarin), scoparone (6,7-dimethoxycoumarin) and 4-methylumbelliferone (7-hyroxy-4-methyl) were examined for their protective effect against CCl(4)-induced hepatotoxicity in Male Sprague-Dawley rats. A single toxic dose of CCl(4) (1.25 ml kg(-1), orally) produced liver damage in rats, seen histologically as centrilobular necrosis. Administration of CCl(4) increased serum enzyme levels of aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Pre-treatment of rats with esculetin (31.15 mg kg(-1), orally) and scoparone (35 mg kg(-1), orally) significantly prevented CCl(4)-induced increase in serum enzymes, whereas 4-methylumbelliferone (35 mg kg(-1)) and coumarin (30 mg kg(-1)) had no effect against CCl(4)-induced rise in serum enzymes. Morphological findings were consistent with the plasma transaminase observations. Among the coumarin analogs, esculetin, which possesses orthodihydroxy coumarins, showed the strongest protective effect against CCl(4)-induced liver damage, followed by scoparone, 4-methylumbelliferone and coumarin, respectively. The results of this study indicate that the chemical structures of coumarins play an important role in the prevention of liver toxicity.