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Effects of Asparagus officinalis Extracts on Liver Cell Toxicity and Ethanol Metabolism


Asparagus officinalis is a vegetable that is widely consumed worldwide and has also long been used as a herbal medicine due to its anticancer effects. Several studies have demonstrated that A. officinalis possesses pharmacological properties including antifungal, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic activities. Its roots and shoots consist of flavonoids, oligosaccharides, amino acid derivatives, and steroidal saponins. Although the roots and shoots of A. officinalis are consumed as popular vegetables and homeopathic supplements, its other parts, such as its leaves, are generally not used.

Ethanol-induced fatty liver may occur in response to ethanol metabolism. In addition, chronic alcohol use causes oxidative stress by inducing the production of cytochrome P-450E1 (CYP2E1). Two major ethanol-metabolizing enzymes are alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and CYP2E1. Liver ADH is the principal enzyme responsible for ethanol oxidation. ADH metabolizes ethanol to acetaldehyde and then a 2nd enzyme, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH), metabolizes the acetaldehyde to acetate. At higher concentrations, acetaldehyde causes toxic effects such as a rapid pulse, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Thus, the rapid- and efficient removal of excess ethanol and its metabolite, acetaldehyde, is important to prevent such toxicities in liver cells, which are primarily responsible for detoxification.