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Potential protective effect of Nigella sativa crude oils towards fatty liver in rats


Correspondence: Prof. Amr E. Edris, Aroma & Flavor Chemistry Department, Food Industries & Nutrition Division, National Research Centre, Dokki, 12622 Cairo, Egypt


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The main purpose of the present research was to study the protective effect of Nigella sativa crude oils (NCO) extracted from plain and γ-irradiated seeds towards inflammatory fatty liver (steatohepatitis). The protective effect of the oils was tested during induction of inflammatory fatty liver in rats through feeding high fructose diet. Biochemical analyses including plasma lipids, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels and liver fat and liver function tests were carried out to determine the efficiency of the oils. Results showed that fatty liver control group exhibited significant dyslipidemia, high plasma TNF-α and MDA along with significant high liver triglycerides and cholesterol and liver dysfunction compared to control normal. Oral administration of NCO produced significant improvement of all parameters. No significant change in all biochemical parameters was noticed when the group given γ-irradiated NCO was compared with that given the plain oil. Lipid analysis by GC showed that linoleic and oleic where the most abundant fatty acids constituting NCO. Volatile oils' contents were 0.1 wt% of NCO; p-cymene and thymoquinone being the major constituents. Administration of NCO from plain or γ-irradiated seeds produced similar and significant, but not complete, prevention of inflammatory fatty liver.

Practical applications: This investigation revealed that the crude oil of Nigella sativa seed may potentially be used as dietary supplement for prevention of inflammatory fatty liver. The study also showed the chemical composition of the fixed and volatile oil fractions of the Egyptian N. sativa seeds that may be useful for further studies.