Ginkgo Extract Helps Heal Acute Liver Damage via Key Signaling Pathway

Jenn Hoskins
1st March, 2024

Ginkgo Extract Helps Heal Acute Liver Damage via Key Signaling Pathway

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a Beihua University study, Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) reduced liver damage markers in cells exposed to a toxin
  • GBE lowered inflammation and boosted the liver's antioxidant defenses
  • The extract activated a cell survival pathway, potentially offering a new treatment for acute liver injury
Liver diseases can be life-threatening and the search for treatments that protect the liver from damage is ongoing. Acute liver injury (ALI) is a particularly severe condition that can arise from various causes, including exposure to toxins like carbon tetrachloride (CCl4), a chemical known to cause significant liver damage. Researchers from Beihua University have recently conducted a study[1] examining the potential of Ginkgo biloba extract (GBE) to mitigate the effects of CCl4 and protect the liver from injury. GBE is derived from the leaves of the Ginkgo biloba tree and is celebrated for its diverse pharmacological properties, including its ability to act as a hepatoprotective agent—essentially, it can help defend the liver against damage. In their investigation, the researchers subjected liver cells to CCl4 to induce damage and then treated these cells with varying concentrations of GBE to assess its protective effects. The study revealed that GBE treatment led to a decrease in the levels of liver enzymes alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST), which are commonly elevated during liver damage and serve as indicators of liver health. Additionally, the researchers observed a reduction in malondialdehyde (MDA), a marker of oxidative stress, and an increase in the activities of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT), suggesting that GBE can enhance the liver's natural antioxidant defenses. Inflammation is a critical factor in ALI, and the study also measured the levels of inflammatory factors interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α). These factors were significantly reduced in the groups treated with GBE, indicating that GBE can lower inflammation in liver cells. One of the key findings of the study was the activation of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway by GBE. This pathway is involved in cell survival, growth, and metabolism. By activating this pathway, GBE appears to inhibit the expression of genes that can lead to liver damage and, in turn, alleviate the inflammatory response of cells. This finding aligns with previous research that has shown the importance of the PI3K/AKT pathway in liver health[2]. The study also ties into earlier research on other compounds that influence the PI3K/AKT pathway. For instance, isovalerylspiramycin I (ISP-I), a component isolated from carrimycin, has been shown to inhibit this pathway, inducing cell death in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cells[3]. Similarly, taxifolin (TAX), a flavonoid, has been reported to have hepatoprotective effects against alcohol-induced liver injury by regulating the PI3K/AKT pathway[4]. The Beihua University study's use of bioinformatics and in vitro experiments to dissect the protective effects of GBE on liver cells offers promising insights. The activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway by GBE and the subsequent downregulation of genes related to liver cell damage could provide a therapeutic strategy for ALI. In summary, the research from Beihua University provides evidence that Ginkgo biloba extract could serve as a protective agent against acute liver injury by reducing oxidative stress, inflammation, and by activating the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. This work not only expands our understanding of GBE's hepatoprotective mechanisms but also supports the potential for natural compounds in the treatment of liver diseases. Further research may validate these findings and pave the way for clinical applications, offering hope for those affected by liver conditions.



Main Study

1) Ginkgo biloba extract alleviates CCl4-induced acute liver injury by regulating PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

Published 29th February, 2024

Related Studies

2) Role of the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway in liver ischemia reperfusion injury: a narrative review.

3) Isovalerylspiramycin I suppresses non-small cell lung carcinoma growth through ROS-mediated inhibition of PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.

4) Taxifolin, a novel food, attenuates acute alcohol-induced liver injury in mice through regulating the NF-κB-mediated inflammation and PI3K/Akt signalling pathways.

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