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TDK conference 2020

Hepatoprotective effects of fermented wheat germ extract on primary cultured rat hepatocytes
Steiger Katharina - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
Supervisors: Dr. Gábor Mátis, Dr. Ákos Jerzsele


Fermented wheat germ extract (FWGE) is used both in human and veterinary medicine and is characterized by various health improving properties. The ingredients 2-methoxy benzoquinone and 2,6-dimethoxybenzquinone seem to play a significant role in exerting its beneficial effects. Additionally, wheat germ has a high concentration of vitamin E, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. According to the literature data FWGE demonstrated antimetabolic, antiproliferative and reactive oxygen species (ROS)-induced cytotoxic effect in different cancer cell lines. In further studies, the immunomodulatory and free radical binding activity of FWGE was also demonstrated. However, as data regarding the antioxidant activity of FWGE are limited, the aim of our study was to investigate its effects on the hepatic redox homeostasis applying primary hepatocyte cell cultures of rat origin, also serving as a model for companion animals.

Liver cells were gained from 8-week-old Wistar rats and monolayer cell cultures were prepared. The cells were exposed to lipopolysaccharides (LPS, 10 μg/mL) and incubated for 2 and 8 h resulting in an inflammatory reaction and increased oxidative stress. After that, they were supplemented with 0.1% and 1% (1 and 10 mg/L) or without FWGE (Immunovet®). For comparison with approved hepatoprotective substances, ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) or silymarin were also added. Finally, different parameters regarding the oxidative status of the cell cultures were measured. These include the cellular metabolic activity, hydrogen peroxide as a ROS, malondialdehyde (MDA) as a product of lipid peroxidation and the activity of glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) as an enzymatic antioxidant.

The results of the present study showed that none of the applied FWGE concentrations caused cytotoxicity to the investigated liver cells. Even though 1% FWGE led to an increased ROS and MDA level in the LPS free cell cultures, the GSH-Px activity was reduced at the same time. These findings indicate that a higher concentration of FWGE under normal physiological circumstances can contribute to an elevation in ROS, but not necessarily lead to oxidative distress. Therefore, FWGE should be applied in the appropriate dosage to avoid a pro-oxidative effect. On the other hand, both applied FWGE concentrations significantly decreased the ROS and MDA levels in case of the LPS challenged cell cultures. The latter was even more reduced compared to the corresponding values of UDCA and silymarin treatment. Consequently, the results of this study showed that FWGE is able to reduce inflammation associated oxidative stress and thereby provide a hepatoprotective effect in vitro. Hence, properly dosed FWGE may serve as a promising candidate in the supplementary therapy of patients suffering from inflammatory diseases, decreasing the generation of free radicals, thus avoiding the occurrence of harmful cytotoxic effects.

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