Hepatoprotective effects of l-citrulline against doxorubicin-induced liver damage in rats: An analysis of serum biomarkers

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Objective: The antineoplastic agent doxorubicin (DOX) is known for causing liver toxicity. Its metabolism in hepatocytes causes oxidative stress, which, in turn, induces DNA damage, lipid peroxidation, ATP depletion, and apoptosis. L-citrulline (CIT), a commonly found agent in fruits like watermelon, has piqued interest due to its antioxidant properties. In the body, CIT is converted to nitric oxide, which has been shown to mitigate hepatic injury by scavenging free radicals, improving hepatic sinusoidal microcirculation, and inhibiting neutrophilic infiltration. This study aims to investigate CIT ability to prevent DOX-induced hepatotoxicity. Methods: A total of 20 Wistar rats were randomized to receive either DOX (10 mg/kg BW) or NaCl 0.9%. DOX-intoxicated group was further randomized to either received low-dose CIT (300 mg/kg BW), high-dose CIT (600 mg/kg BW), or aquadest. CIT was given orally for 6 days and DOX through intraperitoneal injection on days 4 and 5. Serum was obtained and hepatotoxicity was assessed with serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT). Statistical analysis was done with one-way ANOVA and Tukey’s test. Results: Serum ALT, AST, and GGT were increased significantly compared to that of normal group. CIT administration in both the doses could decrease the serum levels of ALT and AST significantly compared to that of DOX group. In this study, CIT in both the doses could reduce the serum levels of GGT compared to that of DOX group though not statistically significant. Conclusions: This study suggests that CIT exerts hepatoprotective effect, as evident by the attenuation of serum biomarkers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)230-233
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Pharmaceutics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019


  • Doxorubicin
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • L-citrulline


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