The purpose of this study was to evaluate the hepatoprotective effect of maltol, a food-flavoring agent, on alcohol-induced acute oxidative damage in mice. Maltol used in this study was isolated from red ginseng (Panax ginseng
C.A Meyer) and analyzed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and mass spectrometry. For hepatoprotective activity in vivo
, pretreatment with maltol (12.5, 25 and 50 mg/kg; 15 days) drastically prevented the elevated activities of aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and triglyceride (TG) in serum and the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β) in liver tissue (p
< 0.05). Meanwhile, the levels of hepatic antioxidant, such as catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) were elevated by maltol pretreatment, compared to the alcohol group (p
< 0.05). Histopathological examination revealed that maltol pretreatment significantly inhibited alcohol-induced hepatocyte apoptosis and fatty degeneration. Interestingly, pretreatment of maltol effectively relieved alcohol-induced oxidative damage in a dose-dependent manner. Maltol appeared to possess promising anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory capacities. It was suggested that the hepatoprotective effect exhibited by maltol on alcohol-induced liver oxidative injury may be due to its potent antioxidant properties.
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