Muhammad Habib-ur- Rehman, Tariq Mahmood, Taher Salim, Naeema Afzal, Nasir Ali, Javed Iqbal, Muhammad Tahir, Asif Khan


Background: Alcoholic liver disease is a worldwide health problem. At least 80% of heavy
drinkers have been reported to develop steatosis, 10–35% alcoholic hepatitis, and approximately
10% liver cirrhosis. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of silymarin on the
levels of serum ALT and GGT in ethanol induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats. This study was an
experimental Randomised Control Trial (RCT), and was conducted at the experimental research
laboratory of University of Health Sciences, Lahore, from January 2007 to December 2007.
Methods: Eighteen male albino rats of 6–8 weeks age, weighing 150–200 gm each were divided
into 3 groups of 6 rats each. Group A served as control, Group B was given ethanol at a dose of 0.6
ml (0.5 gm)/100 gm/day and group C was given ethanol and silymarin at a dose of 0.5 gm/100
gm/day, and 20 mg/100 gm/day respectively for 8 weeks. At the end of the experiment, each
animal was euthenised with chloroform. Blood was drawn from each animal by cardiac puncture
for liver function tests (ALT and GGT). After taking blood sample, each euthenised animal was
sacrificed and then its liver was removed for gross and histological examination. Results: The
mean values of serum alanine-aminotransferase (ALT) in groups A, B and C were 28.16±7.13,
82.33±10.89 and 49.66±6.12 U/L respectively, whereas, the mean values of gamma-glutamyl
transferase (GGT) in groups A, B and C were 27.33±3.05, 79.33±4.37 and 45.66±1.85 U/L
respectively. ANOVA showed significant (p<0.05) difference in mean value of these serum
enzymes among groups. Post Hoc test, using the Tukey honestly significant difference (HSD)
showed that there was significant (p<0.05) increase in mean value of ALT and GGT in group B as
compared to group A and C. This test also showed that there was significant (p<0.05) decrease in
mean value of these enzymes in-group C as compared to group B. Conclusion: Silymarin tends to
normalise liver function test in alcoholic liver disease.
Keywords: Ethanol, Silymarin, Alanine-aminotransferase (ALT), Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)

Full Text:



Kumar, Cotran, Robbins (edt). In Robbins Basic Pathology 7th ed.

Philadephlia: Saunders; 2003.

Lieber CS. Alcohol and the liver: 1994 update. Gastroenterology


Walsh K and Alexander G. Alcoholic liver disease. Postgrad

Med J 2000;76:280–6.

Thurman RG. Alcoholic liver injury involves activation of

Kupffer cells by endotoxin. Am J Physiol 1998;275:605–11.

Worman HJ. Alcoholic liver disease [on line] 2002. Cited on 24

August 2006. URL: http www.cumc.columbia.edu/dept/gi/


Tsukamoto H, Lu SC. Current concepts in the pathogenesis of

alcoholic liver injury. FASEB J 2001; 15:1335–49.

Alcoholic liver disease [on line]. 2005 [Cited on 24 August

. Available from URL: http://www.merck.com/mmpe/


Kaplowitz N, Tsukamoto H. Oxidative stress and liver disease.

Prog liver Dis1996;14:131–59.

Younes M and Strubelt O. Alcohol induced hepatotoxicity: A

role for oxygen free radicals. Free Radic Res 1987;3:19–26.

Cederbaum AI. Role of lipid peroxidation and oxidative stress in

alcohol toxicity. Free Radic Biol Med 1989;7:537–9.

Nordmann R, Ribiere C, Rouach H. Implication of free radical

mechanisms in ethanol-induced cellular injury. Free Rad Biol


Luper S. A review of plants used in the treatment of liver disease:

Part 1. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:410–21.

Pepping J. Milk thistle: Silybum marianum.Am J Health Syst

Pharm 1999;56:1195–7.

Flora K, Hahn M, Rosen H, Benner K. Milk thistle (Silybum

marianum) for the therapy of liver disease. Am J Gastroenterol


Sonnenbichler J, Zetl I. Biochemical effects of the flavonolignane

silibinin on RNA, protein and DNAsynthesis in rat livers. In:

Cody V, Middleton E, Harborne JB, editors. Plant flavonoids in

biology and medicine: biochemical, pharmacological and

structure-activity relationship. New York: Alan R Liss Inc., 1986:

p. 319–31

Valenzuela A, Lagos C, Schmidt K, Videla LA. Silymarin

protection against hepatic lipid peroxidation induced by acute

ethanol intoxication in the rat. Biochem Pharmacol


Enomoto N, Takei Y, Hirose M, Konno A, Shibuya T,

Matsuyama S, et al. Prevention of ethanol-induced liver injury in

rats by an agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptorgamma, pioglitazone. J Pharmacol Exp Ther 2003;306:846–54.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Contact Number: +92-992-382571

email: [jamc] [@] [ayubmed.edu.pk]