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Oral Metformin-Ascorbic Acid Co-Administration Ameliorates Alcohol-Induced Hepatotoxicity In Rats
Background: Alcoholic liver disease remains a major cause of liver failure worldwide with no available curative or prophylactic therapy as at present. High dose metformin is reported to ameliorate liver injuries in both human and animal models of acute and chronic alcoholic liver injuries.
Objectives: The aim of the present in vivo animal study was to determine whether metformin-ascorbic acid co-administration also prevents alcoholic hepatotoxicity in chronic alcohol exposure.
Methods: In the present study, ameliorating effect of 200 mg/kg/day of ascorbic acid (Asc), 500 mg/kg/day of metformin (Met) and their co-administration (Met-Asc) were investigated in 5 groups of 50% ethanol-treated male Wistar rats for 2 weeks of the experiment. The body weight of each rat was taken on days 1, 7, and 14 of the experiment, respectively. On day 15, fasted blood samples for plasma lipids and liver enzyme markers were collected via cardiac puncture from the rats under diethyl ether anaesthesia.
Results: Results showed that administration of graded oral doses of 50% ethanol for 14 days significantly (p<0.001) elevated the plasma liver enzymes – aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotansferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP). Two weeks of ethanol treatment also induced alterations in the plasma triglycerides (PTG), total cholesterol (PTC), high density lipoprotein (HDL-c), and low density lipoprotein (LDL-c). However, these elevations were significantly (p<0.05) attenuated by Asc, Met, and Met-Asc after 14 days of oral treatment, with Met-Asc having higher significant (p<0.001) ameliorating effect than Asc. alone but with comparative effect to that of Met alone.
Conclusion: High dose metformin-ascorbic acid co-administration protected the liver against the deleterious effects of chronic high dose alcohol and the hepatoprotective effect of Met-Asc appeared to be due mainly to the metformin molecule of the drug combination. However, further studies would be required to evaluate the mechanisms underlying the observed effects.
NQJHM Vol. 17 (4) 2007: pp. 155-159