In the present study, three materials extracted or isolated from the roots of B. kaoi, an endemic plant to Taiwan, were used to be examined the hepatoprotective effect against dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats, they were water extract (BKW), polysaccharide-enriched fractions (BKP) and saponin-enriched fractions (BKS). After treated with DMN for 4 weeks, the levels of aminotrasferases (GOT, GPT) were significantly elevated in serum, and the levels of total protein (TP) and albumin were significantly decreased in serum and liver homogenates. Furthermore, the collagen contents were significantly elevated in liver homogenates and corresponded to the hepatofibrotic pathological examination. As the results showed, treated with groups of BKW, BKP, BKS markedly reduced GOT, GPT levels in rats serum. In addition, treated with groups of BKW, BKP, BKS markedly raised TP levels in rats serum and liver homogenates. Furthermore, treated with groups of BKW, BKP markedly raised albumin levels in rats serum and liver homogenates. Treated with groups of BKW, BKP, BKS markedly raised interferon-γ (IFN-γ) levels in rats serum, where only BKS and silymarin markedly raised interkeukin-10 (IL-10) levels in rats serum compared to that of DMN treated rats. None of test materials of B. kaoi except silymarin reduced the malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, but BKW, BKP markedly raised hepatic glutathione (GSH) levels to reveal the activity of anti-lipid peroxidation. Otherwise, treated with groups of BKW, BKP, BKS significantly reduced collagen contents in rats liver homogenates. In conclusion, B. kaoi demonstrated the anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrotic activities followed by anti-oxidant activity of enhanced GSH production, enhanced the liver cell regeneration and concerned with regulations of INF-γ and IL-10. The ability of hepatoprotective and anti-fibrotic activities of B. kaoi are higher than B. chinense, a Bupleuri Radix imported from China to Taiwan.
2005 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan