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Open Access Research article

Thymoquinone attenuates cisplatin-induced hepatotoxicity via nuclear factor kappa- β

Abdulrahman L Al-Malki1* and Ahmed Amir Radwan Sayed12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, King Abdulaziz University, P.O Box 80203, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

2 Chemistry Department, Faculty of Science, Minia University, El- Minia, Egypt

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:282  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-282

Published: 3 August 2014



Cisplatin (CP) is known as a potent anti-cancer drug. The most therapeutic adverse effect of CP is induced hepatotoxicity. In the present study, the protective effect of thymoquinone (TQ) on CP-induced hepatotoxicity was studied.


Wistar rats were divided into three groups (15 rats each). Group 1 served as the control group. Group 2 rats were injected ip with a single dose of CP (12 mg/kg b.w, i.p.). Group 3 rats were orally pre-treated with TQ (500 mg. kg−1. day−1) for one month, then the animals were injected i.p with CP 12−1.


The beneficial effects of TQ with its antioxidant/anti-inflammatory effects were observed. Injection of rats with CP markedly affected the liver functions and histopathological changes. The antioxidant enzyme activities and reduced glutathione (GSH) contents were significantly decreased while the levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) significantly increased. The electromobility shift assay (EMSA) showed a significant activation of NF-κB-p65 in the rat liver injected with CP. Furthermore, the expression and concentrations of inflammatory tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), nitric oxide synthetase (iNOS), and interleukin (IL-1β) were markedly elevated in the CP injected rats. The administration of TQ improved all the altered functions, histopathology of the liver and attenuated the activated NF-κB. The antioxidant enzyme activities (glutathione peroxidase and glutathione –S transferase) of the rat livers were markedly increased while MDA was reduced as a result of TQ administration. In addition, the expression of TNF-α, iNOS, and IL-1β were markedly reduced.


It was concluded that, TQ has potential benefits in the prevention of the onset and progression of CP induced hepatotoxicity.

Nigella Sativa; NF-κB; CP; hepatotoxicity; TNFα; IL-1β