Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) Glycolic Extract Protects Liver Mitochondria from Oxidative Damage and Prevents Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity

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Rosmarinus officinalis L. (rosemary) is an aromatic culinary herb. Native to the Mediterranean region, it is currently cultivated worldwide. In addition to its use as a condiment in food preparation and in teas, rosemary has been widely employed in folk medicine and cosmetics. Several beneficial effects have been described for rosemary, including antimicrobial and antioxidant activities. Here, we investigated the mechanisms accounting for the antioxidant activity of the glycolic extract of R. officinalis (Ro) in isolated rat liver mitochondria (RLM) under oxidative stress conditions. We also investigated its protective effect against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity in vivo. A crude extract was obtained by fractionated percolation, using propylene glycol as a solvent due to its polarity and cosmeceutical compatibility. The quantification of substances with recognized antioxidant action revealed the presence of phenols and flavonoids. Dereplication studies carried out through LC-MS/MS and GC-MS, supported by The Global Natural Product Social Molecular Networking (GNPS) platform, annotated several phenolic compounds, confirming the previous observation. In accordance, Ro decreased the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) elicited by Fe2+ or t-BOOH and inhibited the lipid peroxidation of mitochondrial membranes in a concentration-dependent manner in RLM. Such an effect was also observed in liposomes as membrane models. Ro also prevented the oxidation of mitochondrial protein thiol groups and reduced glutathione (GSH). In model systems, Ro exhibited a potent scavenger activity toward 2,2′-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radicals and superoxide anions. It also demonstrated an Fe2+ chelating activity. Moreover, Ro did not exhibit cytotoxicity or dissipate the mitochondrial membrane potential (∆Ψ) in rat liver fibroblasts (BRL3A cells). To evaluate whether such antioxidant protective activity observed in vitro could also be achieved in vivo, a well-established model of hepatotoxicity induced by acute exposure to acetaminophen (AAP) was used. This model depletes GSH and promotes oxidative-stress-mediated tissue damage. The treatment of rats with 0.05% Ro, administered intraperitoneally for four days, resulted in inhibition of AAP-induced lipid peroxidation of the liver and the prevention of hepatotoxicity, maintaining alanine and aspartate aminotransferase (ALT/AST) levels equal to those of the normal, non-treated rats. Together, these findings highlight the potent antioxidant activity of rosemary, which is able to protect mitochondria from oxidative damage in vitro, and effects such as the antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects observed in vivo.




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Antioxidants, v. 12, n. 3, 2023.

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