Selenium and Green Tea Extract's Hepatoprotective Properties

This investigation, published in Toxicology Applied Pharmacology, evaluated the possible hepatoprotectiveeffects of green tea extract and selenium on liver fibrosis in comparison with silymarin. The study identified the protective properties and underlying mechanisms of a selenium and green tea combination.

Alcohol intermittent binge drinking (BD) during adolescence decreases the levels of selenium (Se), a trace element that plays a key biological role against oxidative damage in hepatocytes through different selenoproteins such as the antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidases (GPx1 and Gpx4) and selenoprotein P (SelP).

Abstract for Selenium and Green Tea

In this context, it has been found that GPx4 has an essential antioxidant role in mitochondria modulating the apoptosis and NF-kB activation (a factor intimately related to apoptosis and immune function). To further investigate the effectiveness of selenium supplementation in oxidative balance, inflammation and apoptosis, the present study examined the protective effects of 0.4ppm of dietary selenium administered to adolescent rats exposed to BD. Alcohol consumption depleted Se deposits in all the tissues studied.

In liver, GPx1 activity and expression were decreased leading to protein and lipid hepatic oxidation. Moreover GPx4 and NF-kB expression were also decreased in liver, coinciding with an increase in caspase-3 expression. This hepatic profile caused general liver damage as shown the increased serum transaminases ratio AST/ALT. Proinflammatory serum citokines and chemocines were decreased.

Liver fibrosis was induced in rats by i.p. injection of CCL4 (3 times a week for 6 weeks in a dose of 25 μl/100 gb.w). Green tea extract (200 mg/kg), selenium (0.945 mg/kg) and silymarin (100 mg/kg) were given orally and daily for 8 weeks (2 weeks before CCL4 and 6 weeks along with CCL4).


  • CCL4-induced fibrosis as indicated by increased activities of liver enzymes and increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity is an indicator of cell death.
  • It also elevated serum nitric oxide (NO), inflammatory mediators like tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) and liver lipid peroxidation and decreased liver reduced glutathione (GSH) content.
  • It also increased liver collagen fiber percent and caused liver cell damage.
  • Moreover, green tea and selenium reduced these changes and improved the pathological effects caused by CCL4.



These findings suggest for first time that Se and green tea increases GPx1 and GPx4 expression and avoids NF-kB downregulation and caspase-3 upregulation, leading to a better oxidative, inflammatory and apoptotic liver profile. Findings of the present study suggest that green tea extract and selenium have protective effects similar in most aspects to silymarin via anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. In addition, their antifibrotic effect was stronger than that of silymarin.

Study Source: Ojeda ML, Carreras O, Sobrino P, Murillo ML, Nogales F. Biological implications of selenium in adolescent rats exposed to binge drinking: Oxidative, immunologic and apoptotic balance. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Aug 15;329:165-172.

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