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Open Access Research article

Anti-hepatotoxic activities of Hibiscus sabdariffa L. in animal model of streptozotocin diabetes-induced liver damage

David O Adeyemi1*, Victor O Ukwenya2, Efere M Obuotor3 and Stephen O Adewole1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

2 Department of Anatomy, Ekiti State University, Ado Ekiti, Ekiti State, Nigeria

3 Department of Biochemistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:277  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-277

Published: 30 July 2014



Flavonoid-rich aqueous fraction of methanolic extract of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyx was evaluated for its anti-hepatotoxic activities in streptozotocin-induced diabetic Wistar rats.


Diabetes Mellitus was induced in Wistar rats by a single i.p injection of 80 mg/kg b.w. streptozotocin (STZ) dissolved in 0.1 M citrate buffer (pH 6.3).


The ameliorative effects of the extract on STZ-diabetes induced liver damage was evident from the histopathological analysis and the biochemical parameters evaluated in the serum and liver homogenates. Reduced levels of glutathione (GSH), catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) (3.76 ± 0.38 μM, 0.42 ± 0.04 U/L, 41.08 ± 3.04 U/ml, 0.82 ± 0.04 U/L respectively) in the liver of diabetic rats were restored to a near normal level in the Hibiscus sabdariffa -treated rats (6.87 ± 0.51 μM, 0.72 ± 0.06 U/L, 87.92 ± 5.26 U/ml, 1.37 ± 0.06 U/L respectively). Elevated levels of aspartate amino transferase (AST), alanine amino transferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in the serum of diabetic rats were also restored in Hibiscus sabdariffa -treated rats. Examination of stained liver sections revealed hepatic fibrosis and excessive glycogen deposition in the diabetic rats. These pathological changes were ameliorated in the extract-treated rats.


The anti-hepatotoxic activity of Hibiscus sabdariffa extract in STZ diabetic rats could be partly related to its antioxidant activity and the presence of flavonnoids.

Liver; Toxicity; Diabetes mellitus; Hibiscus sabdariffa; Flavonoids; Antioxidant