Novel use of silymarin as delayed therapy for acetaminophen-induced acute hepatic injury

Desmond Kwok Po Hau, Raymond Siu Ming Wong, Gregory Yin Ming Cheng, Wai Yeung WONG, See Wai Tong, Kit Wah Chan, Alexander Kai Man Leung, Guo Yuan Zhu, Paul Bo San Lai, Fung Yi Lau, Chung Hin CHUI, Roberto Gambari, David W F FONG

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: Recently, we have demonstrated that silymarin has a comparable pharmaceutical activity as Phyllanthus urinaria extract when used to rescue mice from acetaminophen-induced acute liver injury. In the present study, we further compared the therapeutic action of silymarin with N-acetyl cysteine (commonly used in clinical practice for emergency treatments) as a rescuer in mice after administering a lethal dose of acetaminophen for 24 h. Methods: Acute liver injury was induced in the treatment groups by intraperitoneally administered acetaminophen at a dose of 550 mg/kg body weight on day 1. The control group received an equal volume of physiological saline intraperitoneally. From day 2 to 4, the treatment groups received various doses of silymarin or N-acetyl cysteine orally once daily, while the control group and the acetaminophen group received an equal volume of water orally. The mortality rate was recorded in all groups. On day 5, all mice were sacrificed for examination. Results: Silymarin greatly improved the counteracting effects on mortality rate as compared to N-acetyl cysteine. Conclusion: Silymarin should be further considered as an antidote for patients with acetaminopheninduced acute hepatic injury and delayed treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)209-213
Number of pages5
JournalForschende Komplementarmedizin
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Acetaminophen
  • Hepatic injury
  • N-Acetyl cysteine
  • Silymarin


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