Ferulic acid is a polyphenolic compound contained in various types of fruits and wheat bran. As a salt of the active ingredient, sodium ferulate (SF) has potent free radical scavenging activity and can effectively scavenge ROS. In this study, we examined the effect of SF on iron-overloaded mice in comparison to a standard antioxidant, taurine (TAU). We determined the protective role of SF against liver injury by examining liver-to-body ratio (%), transaminase and hepatocyte apoptosis in rats supplied with 10% dextrose intraperitoneal injection. In addition, antioxidative enzymes activities, ROS formation, mitochondrial swelling, and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) were all evaluated to clarify the mechanism of protective effect of SF associated with oxidative stress. After 15 weeks of SF treatment, we found a significant reduction in liver-to-body weight radio and elevation in both transaminase and hepatocyte apoptosis associated with iron-injected to levels comparable to those achieved with TAU. Both SF and TAU significantly attenuated the impaired liver function associated with iron-overloaded in mice, whereas neither showed any significant effect on the iron uptake. Furthermore, treatment with either SF or TAU in iron-overloaded mice attenuated oxidative stress, associated with elevated oxidant enzymes activities, decreased ROS production, prevented mitochondrial swelling and dissipation of MMP and then inhibited hepatic apoptosis. Taken together, the current study shows that, SF alleviated oxidative stress and liver damage associated with iron-overload conditions compared to the standard ROS scavenger (TAU), and potentially could encourage higher consumption and utilization as healthy and sustainable ingredients by the food and drink.
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