The liver being a vital organ of the body performs different essential functions required for the body’s proper working. These functions include storage and detoxifying, secretion beside certain metabolic activities while alterations in these functions often lead to hepatotoxicity. Drugs and certain hepatotoxic chemicals lead to Drug-induced liver injury by inducing lipid peroxidation and reason for about one-half of the cases of acute liver diseases and failure.
Drugs that influence the P-450 enzyme mechanism by inhibiting the metabolic activity of enzymes are the emerging treatment of hepatotoxicity. Certain biochemical parameters having diagnostic significance are good markers for routine clinical evaluation and human health status.
Diethylnitrosamine (DEN) is a hepatotoxic agent and an extremely potent liver carcinogen in experimental animals that produce reproducible tumors. DEN is abundant in foods like cheese, dried fish, soybean, cured meat, groundwater having a high level of nitrates, and alcoholic beverages. It is also active in many therapeutic drugs. So exposure to DEN has become unavoidable these days.
The research on the effective hepatoprotective agent is vital to overcome or minimize the potential risk of exposure to DEN. Herbal plants and their specific parts/ingredients were found to be effective against DEN-induced hepatotoxicity. Plant substances include glycosides, alkaloids, and flavonoids having pharmacological activities are a major part of modern drug development research.
Ficus sur is also known as cape fig is commonly found in African countries the leaves of this plant used in traditional medicine in the treatment of anemia, wounds, stomach problems, diarrhea, infertility, and gonorrhea. Some beneficial components like flavonoids, saponins, tannins, and alkaloids are the part of this plant having anti-inflammatory activities. Besides some beneficial substances, the hepatoprotective activities of this plant need some research work.
Recently, a research work published in the American Journal of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology to investigate the effect of Ficus sur on DEN induced hepatotoxicity in Wistar rat. According to O.E. Yakubu and his colleague, the ethanol leaf extract of Ficus sur can be used as a remedy to treat liver damage and can play a vital role in the advancement of contemporary hepatoprotective drugs.
The research of O.E. Yakubu is limited to laboratory animals and recommended to be conducted on a human subject in order to precisely access the hepatoprotective efficacy of this plant. Further studies need to be carried out to isolate the bioactive compound present in Ficus sur to clarify the mode of action.