Journal of ethnopharmacology

Evaluation of the protective effect of Rhei Radix et Rhizoma against α-naphthylisothiocyanate induced liver injury based on metabolic profile of bile acids.

PMID 23058990


To evaluate the hepatoprotective effect of the root and rhizome of Rhubarb (Rhei Radix et Rhizoma) against α-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT)-induced liver injury using metabolic profile of bile acids (BAs) along with biochemical parameters and histological alterations. Ultra-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) was applied to determinate the concentration of BAs, which was followed by multivariate statistical analysis of Principal Component Analysis (PCA) and Partial Least Squares Discriminate Analysis (PLS-DA). Based on PCA results, three groups (Vehicle group, ANIT group and RhO+ANIT group) were clearly distinguished. Tauro-cholic acid (TCA), tauro-hyodesoxycholic acid (THDCA), glyco-cholic acid (GCA), and glyco-chenodeoxycholic acid (GCDCA) were proved to be the most important markers corresponding to ANIT-induced liver injury and protection provided by Rhubarb, which is further confirmed by PLS-DA. A correlation was found between the foregoing BAs and biochemical parameters including serum aspartate aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), which confirmed that TCA, THDAC, GCA, and GCDCA could be considered as sensitive biomarkers. The variance of the BAs contents can be used to evaluate ANIT-induced hepatotoxicity caused by ANIT and protective effects of Rhubarb. It also lays the foundation for the further research on the mechanisms of cholestasis as well as the therapeutic effect of Rhubarb.