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Stevia Prevents Acute and Chronic Liver Injury Induced by Carbon Tetrachloride by Blocking Oxidative Stress through Nrf2 Upregulation

The effect of stevia on liver cirrhosis has not been previously investigated. In the present study, the antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties of stevia leaves were studied in male Wistar rats with carbon tetrachloride- (CCl4-) induced acute and chronic liver damage. Acute and chronic liver damage induced oxidative stress, necrosis, and cholestasis, which were significantly ameliorated by stevia. Chronic CCl4 treatment resulted in liver cirrhosis, as evidenced by nodules of hepatocytes surrounded by thick bands of collagen and distortion of the hepatic architecture, and stevia significantly prevented these alterations. Subsequently, the underlying mechanism of action of the plant was analyzed. Our study for the first time shows that stevia upregulated Nrf2, thereby counteracting oxidative stress, and prevented necrosis and cholestasis through modulation of the main proinflammatory cytokines via NF-κB inhibition. These multitarget mechanisms led to the prevention of experimental cirrhosis. Given the reasonable safety profile of stevia, our results indicated that it may be useful for the clinical treatment of acute and chronic liver diseases