Author(s): Valenzuela A, Garrido A
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Abstract The flavonoid silymarin and one its structural components, silibinin, have been well characterized as hepato-protective substances. However, little is known about the biochemical mechanisms of action of these substances. This review deals with recent investigations to elucidate the molecular action of the flavonoid. Three levels of action have been proposed for silymarin in experimental animals: a) as an antioxidant, by scavenging prooxidant free radicals and by increasing the intracellular concentration of the tripeptide glutathione; b) regulatory action of the cellular membrane permeability and increase of its stability against xenobiotic injury; c) at the nuclear expression, by increasing the synthesis of ribosomal RNA by stimulating DNA polymerase I and by exerting a steroid-like regulatory action on DNA transcription. The specific hepatoprotective action of silibinin against the toxicity of ethanol, phenylhydrazine and acetaminophen is also discussed. It is suggested that the biochemical effects observed for the flavonoid in experimental models may settle the basis for understanding the pharmacological action of silymarin and silibinin.
This article was published in Biol Res
and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals