102 Phcog J | Mar-Apr 2015| Vol 7 | Issue 2
PHCOG J ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Hepatoprotective effect of Quail egg against
carbon tetra chloride (CCl4) induced hepatic
damage in albino rats
Dandare Shamsudeen Umar1*, Bawa Muhammad1, Wasagu Ibrahim Zubairu2 and
Magaji Umar Faruk1
1Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science,
2Department of Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medical Laboratory Science,
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, P.M.B. 2346, Sokoto, Nigeria.
Introduction: Quail egg has been used traditionally in the treatment of many ailments. Despite the wide speculations
of its involvement in the treatment of liver diseases, very little scientific evidence exist to support this claim. This
work investigated the hepatoprotective effect of quail egg against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) induced liver damage
in albino rats. Materials and Methods: The rats were divided into five groups of five rats per group. Animals of group
A (positive control) were fed with vehicle (distilled water) on the first four days and with vehicle and CCl4 on the
fifth, sixth and seventh day. Animals of group B (negative control) were given only vehicle for seven days. Animals
of groups C, D and E were respectively administered with 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight of quail egg for the
first four days and with vehicle, quail egg and CCl4 for the fifth, sixth and seventh day. Animals were subsequently
anaesthetized, and blood samples were taken for the estimation of albumin, alkaline phosphatase (ALP), aspartate
aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), total protein (TP) and bilirubin. The liver was isolated for
histopathological studies. Results: The levels of ALT, ALP and TP were significantly affected (p < 0.05) in CCl4
fed groups, indicating liver injury. The effects were reduced significantly (p < 0.05) after treatment of rats with
quail egg. Furthermore, histopathological studies of the liver tissues also supported the hepatoprotective activity of
quail egg- photomicrographs of treated groups showed mild reduction in vacuolarisation/ballooning degeneration of
the hepatocytes. Conclusion: Quail egg showed some potentials of protecting the liver from damage by stabilising
the levels of ALP, ALT and TP and reducing the degeneration of the hepatocytes. Thus, this finding has provided
information that suggests utilising quail egg for treatment of liver dysfunction.
Key Words: Quail egg, Carbon tetrachloride, Hepatotoxicity, Hepatoprotection, Histopathology.
demand on the liver, especially detoxication of drugs and
toxins consequently places the liver at a greater risk of toxic
damage than any other organ in the body.4
Liver disease is said to be the fth most common cause
of death after heart disease, stroke, chest disease and
cancer. However, unlike other major causes of mortality,
liver disease rates are increasing rather than declining.5
Treatment of liver disease/damage is a leading challenge
in modern medicine, as there are no orthodox drugs
that confer protection against liver damage or help
regenerate damaged hepatic cells. Thus, arrays of medicinal
preparations are used for treatment of liver diseases which
often present side effects. Most often, liver transplantation
Dr.Dandare S. U
Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science
Usmanu Danfodiyo University, P.M.B. 2346, Sokoto, Nigeria
Phone: +2348034097491, +447467622750
The liver is one of the most vital organs in the human
body, it plays signicant role in regulation and maintenance
of physiological processes. The detoxication of poison,
secretion of bile for digestion, storage of vitamins and
minerals, metabolism of macromolecules etc. are some of
the primary functions of the liver.1-3 The high metabolic
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Dandare S. U, et al.: Hepatoprotective activity of quail egg
becomes necessary.3,6-8 Due to this shortcoming, researches
have been directed in recent years, towards discovery
and development of novel hepatoprotective drugs from
medicinal plants and food items used for trado-medicinal
Quail (Cotornix coturnix) is a small to medium sized bird of
economic importance. The bird is naturally found in the
wild, but can be raised in the farm. The eggs of quail have
been reported to be rich in proteins, Vitamin A, Vitamin
E, B- Complex Vitamins, Choline, Iron, Potassium,
Phosphorus and HDL cholesterol.11,12 They have also
been reported to have folk medicinal potency; they are
used to treat an array of diseases such as respiratory and
digestive tract disorders, sexual potency, heart diseases,
renal insufciency, cancer and as anti-ageing agents.12, 13
In this study, the hepatoprotective activity of Quail eggs on
CCl4 induced liver damaged Albino rats was investigated.
Biochemical parameters (aspartate aminotransferase,
alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, total
protein, albumin and total bilirubin) were estimated from
blood samples collected. The liver of the rats was also
isolated for histopathological studies.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Eggs were obtained from a poultry farm (S.G. Adiya) in
Sokoto state. A random selection was made and eggs were
certied healthy by the farms’ veterinary doctor. All eggs used
weighed between 8-10 g and their average weight was 9 g.
Thirty healthy (30) adult Albino experimental Rats (of
both sexes) with an average weight of 185 g were obtained
from the Biological Science Department of Usmanu
Danfodiyo University Sokoto, Nigeria. They were allowed
to acclimatize to the new environment for 7 days, having
access to food and water given ad libitum. Chick mash
was served as the whole source of feed for the animals
throughout the experimental period.
The method described by Adebayo et al.14 was adopted with
some modications. The Rats were divided into ve groups
of ve rats each. Animals of group A (positive control) were
administered with vehicle (distilled water) on the rst four
days and with the vehicle and CCl4 (30% in liquid parafn) on
the fth, sixth and seventh day. Animals of group B (negative
control) were given only vehicle for the seven days. The
animals of group C, D and E were respectively administered
with 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight of quail egg and
vehicle for the rst four days and with vehicle, quail egg
and CCl4 (30% in liquid parafn) on the last three days.
Animals were subsequently anaesthetized (in diethyl ether)
and sacriced after fasting for 12 hours. Blood samples and
liver were collected for estimation of biochemical parameters
and for histopathological studies respectively.
Collection and Preparation of Samples
The blood samples were collected by vertical incision
made around the neck to cut through the jugular veins
into lithium heparin zed bottles. Plasma was obtained by
centrifuging the blood at 10,000 rpm for 15 minutes in clean
bottles. The plasma was stored at 20°C for biochemical
analysis.15 Liver was collected after dissection and xed
with 10% formaldehyde for histopathological examination.
Analysis of Biochemical Parameters
Randox laboratory test kits were used for estimation of all
the biochemical parameters. Standard operating procedure
were used to estimate aspartate aminotransferase (AST),16
alanine aminotransferase (ALT),16 alkaline phosphatase
(ALP),17 total protein (TP),18 albumin (ALB)19 and total
Small piece of liver xed with 10% buffered neutral formalin
were processed for embedding in parafn. Sections of 5-6
µm thickness were stained with hematoxylin, eosin dye
and nally mounted in di-phenyl xylene. The section was
examined for histopathological changes under a compound
All values were expressed as mean ± standard deviation.
Turkey’s post hoc test was done to analyse signicant
difference between different groups using the statistical
analysis software SPSS (version 16.0). Values with p < 0.05
were considered as signicantly different.
Estimated Biochemical Parameters
The results of estimated biochemical parameters of CCl4
104 Phcog J | Mar-Apr 2015| Vol 7 | Issue 2
Dandare S. U, et al.: Hepatoprotective activity of quail egg
induced hepatotoxicity in Albino Rats administered with
quail egg are presented in Table 1.
The efcacy of any hepatoprotective agent depends on its
ability to either reduce damage done on liver or maintain
its normal physiology.22 Most experiments involving the
induction of liver damage by CCl4 revealed elevated level
of liver enzymes (AST, ALT and ALP), this is because it
is metabolized in hepatocytes by cytochrome P450, which
leads to the formation of trichloromethyl radical that
facilitates a chain of lipid per oxidation reactions, thus,
causing liver brosis. Also, CCl4 reduces tissue catalase
and superoxide dismutase activities, which can result to
oxidative modication of the liver tissue.23-26
The results of this study in Table 1 revealed signicant
elevation (p<0.05) in the levels of ALP and ALT, while
AST elevation was not signicant in CCl4-treated group
(positive control). This is understandable as AST is less
Table 1: Effect of Quail Egg on CCl4 Induced Hepatotoxicity in Albino Rats.
Parameters Group A
TP (g/dl) 3.27±0.34a7.32±1.65b6.18±1.12b6.53±0.76b7.25±0.68b
ALB (g/dl) 2.98±0.26a3.37±0.28a3.08±0.08a3.17±0.36a3.27±0.34a
TB (mg/dl) 0.48±0.31a0.40±0.20a0.34±0.10a0.37±0.13a0.39±0.21a
ALP (U/I) 500.59±57.81a200.56±22.59b274.77±20.78b300.39±85.70b300.47±94.29b
ALT (U/I) 127.17±40.29a77.50±25.51b75.21±10.31b75.17±10.37b83.50±10.93b
AST (U/I) 55.63±10.39a51.94±12.82a43.83±18.52a49.88±8.20a49.99±10.76b
Data were expressed as Mean ± Standard deviation, n=5 : Mean values with different superscripts in a row indicate signicant difference (p<0.05).
Figure 1: Photomicrograph of (a): Liver section of rat treated with CCl4 show hepatocytes arranged in cords separated by sinusoid,
some hepatocytes show sinusoidal dilation and ballooning degeneration. H&E x 400 (b): liver architecture showing normal features
of control group; hepatocytes arranged in cords separated by sinusoid, H&E x 400. (c): liver of rat treated with CCl4 and 100 mg/
kg bw of quail egg showing mild centrilobular fatty degeneration, H&E x 400. (d): liver of rat treated with CCl4 and 200 mg/kg bw
of quail egg showing moderate sinusoidal dilation and fatty degeneration, H&E x 400. (e): liver of rat treated with CCl4 and 400 mg/
kg bw of quail egg showing reduced dilation of the sinusoids and ballooning degeneration, H&E x 400.
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Dandare S. U, et al.: Hepatoprotective activity of quail egg
specic than ALT as a liver function index.27 However,
TP was signicantly (p<0.05) decreased in the CCl4-treated
group. Elevated levels of these biochemical indices is a
direct reection of a compromise in hepatic structural
integrity, as these enzymes are situated in the liver and
injury by toxicants cause cellular leakage and loss of
functional integrity.28 Conversely, decrease in TP indicates
loss of hepatic synthetic capacity as it measures albumin
and globulins found in blood serum. This is an indication
that CCl4 induced damage to the liver and altered hepatic
structural and functional integrity. The result conrms
the study of Adebayo et al.29 which showed that CCl4 has
the ability to induce hepatic injury. Histopathologically,
the photomicrograph revealed some of the hepatocytes
of positive control group (Figure 1a) showing ballooning
degeneration and sinusoidal dilation.
Upon treatment of rats with quail egg, the elevated ALP
and ALT levels in CCl4-treated groups was signicantly
reduced (p<0.05), indicating hepatoprotection. Also, total
protein level was signicantly increased (p<0.05) in treated
groups. Photomicrograph of liver sections showed that the
vascularisation/ ballooning degeneration of treated groups
(C, D and E) was reduced, but still observable. These
ndings corroborate with a similar study by Ozbek et al.,13
who stated that quail egg effectively reduced elevated levels
of liver enzyme markers and from histopathological studies,
quail egg was not seen to have absolute hepatoprotective
activity, but increased body resistance and decreased severe
weight loss were achieved after administration of quail egg
to CCl4 induced liver damaged Rats. Signicant change in
albumin was not observed in this study. This is because
serum albumin does not change in mild liver injury, the
half-life of albumin is 19-21 days which makes it not to
reect acute changes in liver synthetic ability.30
The hepatoprotective property of quail egg may be due to
antioxidant activity of the individual or combined effects
of the vitamins (A and E) it contains. The exact metabolite
responsible for hepatoprotection needs investigation.
From the result of this study, it was observed that quail
egg showed some potentials of protecting the liver from
damage by stabilising the levels of ALP, ALT and TP and
reducing the vascularisation/ ballooning degeneration
of the hepatocytes. Thus, this finding has provided
information on the possibility of utilising quail egg for
treatment of liver dysfunction.
We wish to acknowledge Dr. Umar Muhammad MBBS,
FWACP (lab Med), Department of Morbid Anatomy
and Forensic Medicine, Usmanu Danfodiyo University
Teaching Hospital Sokoto for helping us with the
histopathological analysis. We also thank Lanas Abubakar
Muhammad for taking care of the experimental animals.
CONFLICT OF INTEREST
The authors wish to declare that there is no conict of
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