Authors:Diana Olteanu, A. Filip, A. Mureşan, A. Nagy, F. Tabaran, R. Moldovan, N. Decea, C. Catoi, and S. Clichici
Inflammation and oxidative stress are important pathways in the development of liver fibrosis following biliary obstruction.Aim: To evaluate the effects of low dose dexamethasone and chitosan, a natural compound with no side-effects, on liver damage caused by bile duct ligation in rats.Materials and methods: Fifty female Wistar rats, randomly and equally divided in 5 groups: I (SHAM) underwent only laparotomy, II (BDL) with bile duct ligation, III (DEX) 0.125 mg/kg dexamethasone i.m. daily, IV (CS) 1 mg/kg chitosan by gavage and group V (DEX+CS), both substances. After six days, the following parameters were assessed from liver homogenates: malondialdehyde (MDA), protein carbonyls (PC), reduced glutathione (GSH), total SH groupings, nitric oxide (NO), and from plasma: MDA, γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (GGT), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and total bilirubin (TB). A histopathological examination was performed using some of the elements of the Knodell Histological Activity Index.Results: BDL significantly increases the levels of MDA, liver enzymes, and the necro-inflammatory score compared to the sham group and it decreases the antioxidant capacity. DEX protects against lipid peroxidation and improves the antioxidant capacity, but it is not able to protect the hepatocytes. Chitosan significantly decreases (p<0.05) the levels of MDA (0.07±0.01 vs 0.10±0.01 nmoles/mg protein BDL group, p=0.027) and also ALT, TB, GGT and reduces liver necrosis and inflammation (2.75±0.95 vs 1±0, p<0.05). Both CS and DEX reduce the level of NO significantly.Conclusion: BDL induces severe oxidative stress damage after six days already. Chitosan proved very efficient in protecting the hepatocytes against oxidative stress, a fact supported by the histological findings.