The hepatoprotective effects of the Taiwanese herb 'Horngtyan-wu' (Alternanthera sessilis (L.) DC.) were investigated in three kinds of experimental animal model. Acute hepatitis was induced by various chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride (31.25 μL/kg, i.p.) or acetaminophen (paracetamol; 600 mg/kg, i.p.) in mice and D(+)-galactosamine (188 mg/kg, i.p.) in rats. When treated with A. sessilis (300 mg/kg, p.o.) at 2, 6 and 10 h, a reduction in elevation of serum glutamate oxaloacetic transaminase (SGOT) and glutamate pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) levels could be observed at 24 h after administration of the three hepatotoxins. These serological observations were also confirmed by histopathological examinations including centrilobular necrosis, eosinophilic bodies, pyknotic nuclei, microvesicular degeneration of hepatocytes and others. The liver microscopic examination showed a noted improvement in groups receiving A. sessilis. All pharmacological and histopathological effects were compared with observations using the hepatoprotective Chinese herb, Bupleurum chinense (Family Umbelliferae). It was confirmed that A. sessilis has hepatoprotective effects against liver injuries induced by hepatotoxins with different mechanisms.
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