Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Fenugreek seeds, a hepatoprotector forage crop against chronic AlCl3 toxicity

Yosra Belaïd-Nouira1*, Hayfa Bakhta1, Zohra Haouas1, Imen Flehi-Slim1, Fadoua Neffati2, Mohamed Fadhel Najjar2 and Hassen Ben Cheikh1

Author Affiliations

1 Laboratory of Histology and Cytogenetic (Research unit of Genetic 02/UR/08-03), Faculty of Medicine, Avenue Ibnou Sina 5000, Monastir, Tunisia

2 Laboratory of Biochemistry-Toxicology, University Hospital of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia

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BMC Veterinary Research 2013, 9:22  doi:10.1186/1746-6148-9-22

Published: 31 January 2013



Having considered how bioavailable aluminium (Al) may affect ecological systems and animals living there, especially cattle, and in search for a preventive dietary treatment against Al toxicity, we aimed to test the protective role of fenugreek seeds against chronic liver injury induced by aluminum chloride (AlCl3) in Wistar rats.


Five months of AlCl3 oral exposure (500 mg/kg bw i.g for one month then 1600 ppm via drinking water) caused liver atrophy, an inhibition of aspartate transaminase (AST), alanine transaminase (ALT) and glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT), an enhancement of both lipid peroxidation and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and an increase of total protein level in liver. Moreover, histopathological and histochemical examinations revealed moderate alterations in the hepatic parenchyma in addition to a disrupted iron metabolism. Co-administration of fenugreek seed powder (FSP) at 5% in pellet diet during two months succeeded to antagonize the harmful effects of AlCl3 by restoring all tested parameters.


This study highlighted the hepatotoxicity of AlCl3 through biochemical and histological parameters in one hand and the hepatoprotective role of fenugreek seeds on the other hand. Thus this work could be a pilot study which will encourage farmers to use fenugreek seeds as a detoxifying diet supplement for domestic animals.

AlCl3; Liver; Trigonella foenum-graecum; Lipid peroxidation; Histopathology; Iron metabolism