Hepato-Protective Activity of the Water Extract of Launaea intybacea (Jacq) Beauv in Paracetomol Induced Hepato-Toxicity in Albino Rats


S.B. Takate1*, R.D. Pokharkar1, V.V. Chopade2, and V.N. Gite1

1Agasti Arts, Comers and Dadasaheb Rupwate Science College, Akole, Dist-Ahmednagar, 422601(MH) India.2Modern College of Pharmacy Nigdi Pune-411 044.

*Corresponding Author E-mail: sbtakate@rediffmail.com



The present study was conducted to evaluate the hepato-protective activity of water extract of aerial parts of Launaea intybacea are evaluated in paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats. Silymarin (200mg/kg) was given as reference standard. The water extract of aerial parts of Launaea intybacea have shown very significant hepatoprotection against paracetamol-induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats in reducing serum total bilirubin, SALP, SGPT , SGOT levels and liver homogenates LPO, SOD, CAT, GPX, GST and GSH levels.


KEYWORDS: Launaea intybacea, hepatotoxicity, paracetomol and silymarin.



A number of medicinal plants are used in traditional system of medicine for the management of liver disorders.1 However many of them have not investigated for their described effects. Launaea intybacea is one such medicinal plant used in the treatment of liver disorders in folk medicine. The plant Launaea intybacea (Jacq) Beauv. is used against jaundice, hepatomegaly, dyspepsia, skin disease, dry cough and galactoriya.2, 3 The present study was conducted to evaluate the hepatoprotective activity  of   Launaea intybacea plant powder water extract against liver disorders  induced by paracetomol in wistar albino rats. Plants extracts have been used by traditional medicinal practitioners for the treatment of liver disorders for centuries4. The extract of plant powder was administered orally to the animals.  Various biochemical parameters were studied to evaluate the hepatoprotective activity of water extract. Serum bilirubin, serum alkaline phosphate, serum glutamic  oxaloacetic  transaminase and serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase and liver homogenate  superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, lipid peroxidation, glutathione-reduced and glutathione-transferase  were determined to assess the effect of the various extract the paracetomol induced liver disorders.Liver damage is always associated with cellular necrisis, increase in tissue lipid peroxidation and deplection in the tissue GSH levels. In addition, serum levels of many biochemical markers like SGOT, SGPT, cholesterol, bilirubin , alkaline phosphate are elevated.5,6.


The study revealed that water extract significantly reduced serum bilirubin, SGOT, SGPT and SALP levels and liver homogenates LPO, SOD, CAT, GPX, GST and GSH levels. The present finding suggests that the plant Launaea intybacea possess potential hepatoprotective activity. The alkaloids, saponins, tannins and phenolic compounds are responsible for the hepatoprotective activity. The present study scientifically validated the traditional use of Launaea intybacea for liver disorders. .



Plant material:

The plant material used in this study was collected during month of Oct-Nov. in Akole Dist-Ahmednagar(MH) ,  India and authenticated from Department of Botanical Survey of India, Pune ( India).


Preparation of the Extracts:

The plants were washed thoroughly with tap water and air dried in shade at room temperature. They were mechanically powdered and sieved.  The water extract was prepared by cold maceration (72 h.). The liquid extract obtained was concentrated in vacuum at 40oC. The yield of extract was  30.12%  and  the extract was phytochemically investigated.7.



Albino rats (either sex) of Sprague dawley strain, weighing 150-200g were used. The animals were acclimatized to laboratory conditions (RT-25°C) for 4 days and given pelleted animal feed (Hindustan Lever) and drinking water, Diagnostic reagent kits (Enzopak) were used for the estimation of serum SALP, SGPT and SGOT levels and assay procedure was used for the estimation of liver homogenates LPO, SOD, CAT, GPX, GST and GSH.1

Table: 1 Effect of  water extract of Launaea intybacea aerial parts on paracetomol-induced hepatotoxicity ( Serum parameters).

Sr. No.



Total Bilirubina



(Units/ml) a


(Units/ml) a


(Units/ml) a


Control (propyle glycol) 1 ml

0.85 ± 0.08


81.3 ± 1.58

194.32 ± 1.23


Paracetomol (1000mg/kg)

2.02± 0.21



352.12± 21.23


Water  Extract (200mg/kg)

0.85 ± 0.14


79.11± 12.19

194.03± 2.40


Silymarin (200mg/kg)

0.85± 0.03


81.53± 26.26

194.38 ±1.35

a Values of mean ± S.E.M. (n=6)


Table: 2 Effect of water extract of Launaea intybacea aerial parts on paracetomol-induced hepatotoxicity ( Liver homogenates)

Sr. No.




of protein


Units/mg of protein


Units/mg of protein





of protein



of protein



Propylene glycol 

( 1 ml)

0.41± 0.09

106.1± 6.2

21.40 ± 1.3

3.0 ± 0.01

1.22 ± 0.11

0.31 ± 0.03




1.33± 0.02

36.17± .40

6.00 ± 0.33

0.9 ± 0.06

0.49 ± 0.02

0.12 ± 0.05


Water extract


0.42± 1.16

105.09± 1.41

21.10± 0.07

3.01 ± 0.06

1.32 ± 0.05

0.12 ± 0.01


Silymarin (200mg/kg)


0.41 ± 0.01

106.33 ± 1.75

21.35 ± 1.1

3.16 ±0.03

1.21 ± 0.31

0.32 ± 0.01

a Values of mean ± S.E.M. (n=6)


Toxicity studies:

The WHO has set guidelines for toxicity studies of herbal medicine. It supports appropriate usage of herbal medicines and encourages the remedies, which are proved to safe and efficacy.8 Acute toxicity study was performed for water extract according to the acute toxic classic method as per OECD guidelines 9, albino rats were used for acute toxicity study. The animals were kept fasting for overnight providing only water, after which the extract was administered orally at the dose of 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg and observed for 16 days. If mortality was observed in 2 out of 3 animals, then the dose administered was assigned as toxic dose. If the mortality was observed in 1 animal, then the same dose was repeated again to confirm the toxic dose. If mortality was not observed, the procedure was repeated for further higher dose i.e., 400 mg/kg.


Hepatoprotective Activity:

The animals were divided into four groups comprising of six albino rats in each group using randomization technique and treated with the extract for sixteen days to assess the hepato-protective potential of the plant. The first group (vehicle control) received vehicle for all the days. The second group was kept as toxin control and given only the paracetomol treatment. The third group received water extract in the dose of 200mg/kg p.o. and the forth group received the Silymarin in the dose of 200mg/kg p.o. as a reference material for the study. All the animals except the vehicle control received paracetomol all 16th day of the treatment. The animals were sacrificed by cervical dislocation after 48 hours of paracetomol administration. The blood samples were collected by cardiac puncture in heparinized microfuge tubes. The blood samples thus collected were immediately centrifuged at 2200rpm for 15 minutes. When serum clearly separated out, the serum was analyzed for SGPT, SGOT and SALP levels using enzopak reagent kits by the method proposed by Reitman and Frankel. The results thus obtained were subjected to statistical analysis using student t-test and analysis of variance.10,11 The livers were dissected out immediately, washed with ice cold saline and 10% homogenates in 1.15% (w/v) KCl were prepared. The homogenates were centrifuged at 7000xg for 10 min at 4oC and the supernatants were used for the assays of LPO, SOD, CAT, GPX, GST and GSH.  The results thus obtained were subjected to statistical analysis using student t-test and analysis of variance.10, 11. (Table: 1 and Table: 2)



The present studies were performed to assess the hepatoprotective activity in rats against paracetomol as hepatotoxin to prove its claims in folklore practice against liver disorders. A number of reports indicates that overdose of paracetomol can produce centrizonal hemorrhagic hepatic necrosis in humans and experimental animals.12,13 Paracetomol-induced hepatic injury is commonly used as an experimental method for the study of hepatoprotective effects of medicinal plants extracts and drugs. The extent of hepatic damage is assessed by histological evaluation and the level of various biochemical parameters in circulation. Highly reactive trichloro free radical formation, which attacks polyunsaturated fatty acids of the endoplasmic reticulum, is responsible for the hepatotoxicity of paracetomol.14, 15 It produces hepatotoxicity by altering liver microsomal membranes in experimental animals. From the Table 1 it was evident that extract was able to reduce all the elevated biochemical parameters due to the hepatotoxin intoxication. The levels of total proteins and albumin were reduced due to the paracetomol induced hepatotoxicity. The reduction is attributed to the initial damage produced and localized in the endoplasmic reticulum which results in the loss of P450 leading to its functional failure with a decrease in protein synthesis and accumulation of triglycerides leading to fatty liver. Reduction in the levels of SB, SALP, SGOT and SGPT towards the normal value is an indication of regeneration process. The protein and albumin levels were also raised suggesting the stabilization of endoplasmic reticulum leading to protein synthesis. The protective effect exhibited by extracted at dose level of 200 mg/kg was comparable with the standard drug silymarin.. The histological examination of the liver sections reveals that the normal liver architecture was disturbed by hepatotoxin intoxication. In the liver sections of the rats treated with extracted and intoxicated with paracetomol, rats treated with water extract and intoxicated with paracetomol the normal cellular architecture was retained as compared to silymarin16, thereby confirming the protective effect of the extract. In accordance with these results, it may be hypothesized that tannin, saponins and flavonoids, which are present in extracts, could be considered responsible for the hepatoprotective activity.


The water extract of aerial parts of Launaea intybacea (Jacq) Beauv have shown very significant hepatoprotection against paracetomol-induced hepatotoxicity in albino rats in reducing serum total bilirubin, SALP, SGPT and SGOT levels. It is also found that treatment with water  extract of plant have brought down the elevated level of LPO and also significantly enhanced the reduced levels of  SOD, CAT, GPX, GST and GSH . Liver section of Launaea intybacea treated animal group clearly showed normal hepatic cells and central vein thereby confirming hepatoprotective activity. In conclusion the water extract of Launaea intybacea could be an important source of hepatoprotective compounds.



1.       Handa S. S. ,  Sharma A. and  Chakraborti K. K.  1986 Natural products and plants as liver protecting drugs. Fitoterapia. 57: 307-45.

2.       Kirtikar, K. R. and Basu, B. D. 1999 Indian Medicinal Plants, 2 nd edition, Bishen sing Mahendra Pal Sing publication, Dehradun, Pp. 1432-1433

3.       Naik V.N. General Medicinal Plants in Marathwada (MH). India.1998, 211.

4.       Schuppan, D.J. Jia. Brikhaus. B. and Hahn E.G. 1999 Herbal products for liver disease. A therapeutic challenge for the new millennium. Heatol, 30: 1099-1104.

5.       Mossa JS,  Tariq M, Mohsin A, Aqued AM, al-Yabya MA, al-Said MS, et al Am J chin Med 1991; 19:233.

6.       Mascollo N, Sharma R, Jain SC, Capasso F.J.Ethnopharmacol, 1998; 22:211.

7.       Harbone J.B. Phytochemical methods (Chapmann and Hall Limited, London, 1998); 52-105.

8.       Research guidelines for evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbal medicine. World Health Organisation Regional Office for the Western Pacific Mamila, 1993; 1-9.

9.       OECD Guidelines for Testing of Chemicals, OECD, Paris 1998.

10.     Ashok S. K. ,  Somayaji S.N. and  BairyK.L. Hepatoprotective effects of Ginkgo biloba against carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic injury in rats. Indian J Pharmacol 33(2): 260-6 (2001).

11.     Heba H. M. Hafez F. H. and Nadia M. F. 2006, Silymarin modulates cisplatin – induced oxidative stress and hepatotoxicity in rats. Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

12.     Hinson. J.A. Pohl. Monks, Gillete JR. Acetaminophen induced hepatotoxicity. Life Sci 1981; 29: 107-116.

13.     Prescott, L.F. Wringht. N. Roscoe. P and Brown, S.S. Plasma Paracetomol half-life and hepatic necrosis in patients with paracetomol overdose Lancet. I; 519-522.

14.     Zimmerman, J. Kendler and S. Libber free radicle activity its importance and role in disease. Biochem Pharmacology. 1974; 23: 2187-2189.

15.     H. Roy free radical damage and its control Elsevier Science 1994; 125-134.

16.     Sharma A. Chakraborti. K.K., Handa S.S. Anti hepatotoxic activity of some Indian herbal formulation as compared to silymarin Fitoterapia. 1991; 62:299-35.




Received on 30.01.2010       Modified on 25.02.2010

Accepted on 20.03.2010      © RJPT All right reserved

Research J. Pharm. and Tech.3 (3): July-Sept. 2010; Page 815-817