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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.86  suppl.2 Rio de Janeiro  1991 

Advances in pharmacological studies of silymarin

Yao-Cheng Rui1 

Second Military Medical University, College of Pharmacy, Shanghai, China


Silymarin is the flavonoids extracted from the seeds of Silybum marianum (L) Gearth as a mixture of three structural isomers: silybin, silydianin and silychristin, the former being the most active component. Silymarin protects liver cell membrane against hepatotoxic agents and improves liver function in experimental animals and humans. It is generally accepted that silymarin exerts a membrane-stabilizing action preventing or inhibiting membrane peroxidation. The experiments with soybean lipoxygenase showed that the three components of silymarin brought about a concentration-dependent non-competitive inhibition of the lipoxygenase. The experiments also showed an analogous interaction with animal lipoxygenase, thus showing that an inhibition of the peroxidation of the fatty acid in vivo was self-evident. Silybin almost completely suppressed the formation of PG at the highest concentration (0.3 mM) and proved to be an inhibitor of PG synthesis in vitro. In our experiments, silybin at lower dose (65 mg/Kg) decreased liver lipoperoxide content and microsomal lipoperoxidation to 84.5% and 68.55% of those of the scalded control rats respectively, and prevented the decrease of liver microsomal cytochrome p-450 content and p-nitroanisole-0-demethylase activity 24 h post-scalding. Effects of silymarin on cardiovascular systen have been studied in this university since 1980. O. O silymarin 800 mg/Kg/d or silybin 600 mg/Kg/d reduced plasma total cholesterol, LDL-C and VLDL-C. They however, enhanced HDL-C in hyperlipenic rats. Further studies showed that silymarin enhanced HDL-C in hyperlipemic rats. Further studies showed that silymarin enhanced HDL-C but didn't affect HDL-C, a property of this component which is beneficial to treatment of atherosclerosis. The results showed silymarin 80 mg or silybin 60 mg decreased in vitro platelet aggregation (porcentagem) in rats. The maximal platelet aggregation induced by ADP declined significantly, and time to reach maximal platelet aggregation and five-minute disaggregation didn't change. In our experiments, iv silybin 22,4 mg/kg lowered the amplitude and duration of diastolic blood pressure (DBP) more than those of systolic (SBP), but the descending aortic blood flow, cardiac contractility and ECG did not change significantly in anesthetized open-chest cats. The results indicated a reduction of peripheral resistance and dilatatory action on the resistant blood vessels. These effects are beneficial to coronary heart disease. We also observed the effects of silybin on morphological change, the release of glutamic oxaloacetate aminotrasferase (GOT) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) as well as the radioactivity of 3H-TdR incorporated into DNA in normal cardiac cells and cells infected by coxsackie B5, virus os newborn rats. The results showed that silynin did not affect the morphology of normal cell, and that the pathological change of cells infected by virus was delayed and reduced as compared to control. We have investigated the effect of silybin on synthesis and release of LTs in the cultured porcine cerebral basilar arteries (PCBA). Silybin 100 and 500 µmol/L declined the amounts of LTs released from the PCBA incubsated in the presence of A 23187, AA and indomenthacin. The result suggests that silybin can inhibit the activity of 5-lipoxygenase of cerebral blood vessel and may protect the brain from ischemia.

Key words: silymarin; hepatoprotective actions; platelet aggregation; cultured cells; 5-lipoxygenase


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