Iranian Journal of Medical Sciences

Document Type: Original Article(s)


1 Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Neurophysiology Research Center, Shahed University, Tehran, Iran


Background: Acute liver failure (ALF) is a fatal clinical situation that rapidly leads to the loss of normal liver function. Esculetin is a natural herbal compound used for the management of various diseases such as cardiovascular and renal disorders. In this study, we evaluated the protective effects of esculetin in a mouse model of ALF.
Methods: This article is a report on an experimental study that was conducted at Iran University of Medical Sciences in 2019. Forty-eight male C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into control, LPS/D-Gal, and LPS/D-Gal+Esculetin (40 mg/kg) groups (n=16 per group). ALF was induced with an intraperitoneal injection of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)/D-galactosamine (D-Gal).The LPS/D-Gal group received a mixture of LPS (50 μg/kg) and D-Gal (400 mg/kg). The LPS/D-Gal+Esculetin group received esculetin by gavage 24 hours and one hour before receiving LPS/D-Gal. Six hours after LPS/D-Gal injection, the mice were sacrificed. Liver injury markers, including alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), were measured in the serum. Oxidative stress indices and inflammatory markers such as interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), IL-6, and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) were measured in hepatic tissue. The histopathology of liver tissue was also assessed. The data were analyzed using one-way ANOVA, followed by the post hocTukey test.
Results: Esculetin lowered oxidative stress and myeloperoxidase activity (P<0.001); reduced the serum levels of ALT (P=0.037), AST (P=0.032), and ALP (P=0.004); and decreased the hepatic levels of IL-1β (P=0.002), IL-6 (P=0.004), toll-like receptor 4 (P<0.001), TNF-α (P=0.003), and nuclear factor-kappa B (P<0.001) as compared with LPS/D-Gal. Additionally, esculetin ameliorated hepatic tissue injury following LPS/D-Gal challenge.
Conclusion: Esculetin can reduce liver injury through the mitigation of oxidative burden, inflammation, and neutrophil infiltration and also exerts hepatoprotective effects against ALF.