Effects of oral administration of silymarin in a juvenile murine model of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

Veronica Marin, Silvia Gazzin, Sabrina E. Gambaro, Matteo Dal Ben, Sonia Calligaris, Monica Anese, Alan Raseni, Claudio Avellini, Pablo J. Giraudi, Claudio Tiribelli, Natalia Rosso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. The increasing prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in adolescents is challenging the global care system. No therapeutic strategies have been defined so far, and changes in the lifestyle remain the only alternative. In this study, we assessed the protective effects of silymarin in a juvenile non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) model and the in vitro effects on fatladen human hepatocytes. C57Bl/6 mice were exposed to HFHC diet immediately after weaning. After eight weeks, animals showed histological signs of NASH. Silymarin was added to the HFHC diet, the treatment continued for additional 12 weeks and the effects on BMI, hepatomegaly, visceral fat, lipid profile, transaminases, HOMA-IR, steatosis, inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress, and apoptosis were determined. The switch from HFHC to control diet was used to mimic life style changes. In vitro experiments were performed in parallel in human hepatocytes. HFHC diet supplemented with silymarin showed a significant improvement in glycemia, visceral fat, lipid profile, and liver fibrosis. Moreover, it reduced (both in vitro and in vivo) ALT, hepatic inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis. Lifestyle changes restored the control group parameters. The data presented show the beneficial effects of the oral administration of silymarin in the absence of changes in the dietary habits in a juvenile model of NASH.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sep 12 2017


  • Fibrosis
  • In vitro model
  • In vivo model
  • NASH
  • Silymarin
  • Therapeutic approach

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