Thymoquinone, an active constituent of Nigella sativa seeds, binds with bilirubin and protects mice from hyperbilirubinemia and cyclophosphamide-induced hepatotoxicity.
Biochimie. 2016 Jun 2. Epub 2016 Jun 2. PMID: 27265787
Amaj A Laskar
Some reports indicate that thymoquinone (TQ), the main constituent of Nigella sativa seeds, is hepatoprotective. The aim of this study was to determine whether TQ is able to bind directly to bilirubin, and whether TQ or liposomal formulation of TQ (Lip-TQ) can reduce cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced liver toxicity, serum bilirubin level in mice. The binding of TQ with bilirubin was studied by UV-VIS, fluorescence and Near-UV CD spectroscopy. Inhibition of binding of bilirubin to erythrocytes by TQ was also examined. To increase the in vivo efficacy, Lip-TQ was prepared and used against CYP-induced toxicity. The protective role of TQ or Lip-TQ against CYP-induced toxicity was assessed by determining the liver function parameters, the levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), and histological studies. It was foundthat TQ binds to bilirubin and significantly inhibits the binding of bilirubin to erythrocytes. Lip-TQ (10 mg/kg) significantly reduced the levels of aspartate transaminase (AST) from 254 ± 48 to 66 ± 18 IU/L (P < 0.001), alanine transaminase (ALT) from 142 ± 28 to 47.8 ± 16 IU/L (P < 0.05) and serum bilirubin from 2.8 ± 0.50 to 1.24 ± 0.30 mg/dl (P < 0.05). Treatment with Lip-TQ reduced the CYP-induced inflammation and hemorrhage in liver tissues. Moreover, treatment with free or Lip-TQ protected the activity of SOD and CAT in CYP-injected mice. Therefore, TQ can reduce the level of bilirubin in systemic circulation in disease conditions thatlead to hyperbilirubinemia and liver toxicity and hence may be used as a supplement in the treatment of liver ailments.