Potential Protective Effects of Milk Thistle (Silybum Marianum L.) Seeds Against Benzo[a]Pyrene-Induced Hepatic and Nephritic Injuries in Rats: Biochemical and Histopathological Studies.

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Home Economics, Minoufiya University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt

2 Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Faculty of Home Economics, Menoufia University, Shebin El-Kom, Egypt


Benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon, poses a significant threat to human health as an increasingly prevalent environmental and foodborne pollutant. Our previous study revealed that wild Silybum marianum seeds ethanolic extract (SMSE) attenuated B[a]P-induced oxidative stress and cell apoptosis in albino rats. In this work, we extended our hypothesis to investigate the potential protective effects of SMSE against hepatic and nephritic injuries induced by B[a]P. Thirty-six male albino rats were assigned into six groups: Group I, the control (-Ve), received 10 ml/kg/BW corn oil orally twice weekly; Group II, the control (+Ve), was given 50 mg/kg/BW of B[a]P in corn oil twice weekly; and Groups III, V, IV, and VI were orally administered B[a]P + SMSE at 200, 400, 600, and 800 mg/kg BW/day, respectively, for four weeks. B[a]P exposure significantly (p≤0.05) increased the relative weights of the liver (33.33%) and kidney (39.68%); cytochrome P450 (CYP450) activity, a biotransformation marker, (68.25%); tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) levels, a pro-inflammatory mediator, (95.95%); liver enzymes activities (AST, 124.09%, ALT, 124.98%, and ALP, 128.77%); and renal function indicators (serum urea, 60.18%, and creatinine, 68.35%), accompanied by severe histopathologic changes in liver and kidney tissues compared to control (-Ve). Conversely, SMSE interventions significantly (p≤0.05) dose-dependently reduced elevated rates of these indices, while improving liver and kidney histoarchitecture. The SMSE's protective effects may result from its bioactive compounds content that regulate B[a]P metabolic enzymes, inhibit CYP450 activity, suppress TNF-α, and scavenge other reactive intermediates. Our results suggest SMSE as a potential natural approach to alleviating environmental pollutants' detrimental effects and deserves further research.


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