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Advances in Pharmacological Sciences
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 938324, 7 pages
Research Article

The Effect of an Aqueous Extract of Teucrium polium on Glutathione Homeostasis In Vitro: A Possible Mechanism of Its Hepatoprotectant Action

Department of Pharmacology, Bruce and Ruth Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, P.O. Box 9649, Haifa 31096, Israel

Received 8 June 2009; Revised 25 November 2009; Accepted 15 January 2010

Academic Editor: Chun Guang Li

Copyright © 2010 Stella Shtukmaster et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Teucrium polium is used in Arab traditional medicine to treat liver diseases. Glutathione is an important intracellular antioxidant, and intrahepatic glutathione levels are depleted in liver diseases. Hypothesis and Aim. This investigation tested the hypothesis that aqueous extracts of T. polium maintains intracellular glutathione levels by augmenting glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase activity in cultured hepatocytes. Methods. The effects of increasing concentrations (0.01–1 mg/mL) of aqueous extract of T. polium were assessed in cultured HepG2 cells following 24 hours incubation on (1) cellular integrity using (a) the Trypan blue exclusion assay, (b) the [di-methylthiazol-2yl]-2,5-diphenyl-tetrazoliumbromide (MTT) assay, and (c) the lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) assay; (2) glutathione redox state; and (3) glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase activities using a repeated measures experimental design. Results. At concentrations of 0.375 mg/mL and 0.5 mg/mL, the extract increased the intracellular levels of total and reduced glutathione and had no effect on the intracellular amounts of oxidized glutathione. The extract had no effect on glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase activities. Conclusion. These data indicate that the mechanism of the hepatoprotective action of aqueous extracts of T. polium may be, in part, due to augmenting intracellular glutathione levels.