Experimental studies of fenugreek seed treatment on rats intoxicated with ethanol

George C. Pribac, Constantin Craciun, Corina Rosioru, Aurel Ardelean, Maria Czapar, Endre Mathe, Iuliana Simeoni, Aurelia Covaci, Cecilia Avram, Simona Damian, Liana Mos

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Our paper was done using an in vivo experimental model, in which animals were administered two differents doses of grounded seeds, on the background of ethanol intoxication. Because of their content in polyphenolic flavonoids, Trigonella foenum graecum seeds have antioxidant and membrane-protective effects, as reported by several Indian research teams. In this geographical area, fenugreek is used not only for its curative effects, but also as a flavoring food supplement. Most studies focused on the hypoglycemiant and antidiabetic properties of fenugreek seeds; there are also a few evidences regarding their utilization in preventing alcoholic liver pathology. Animals were adult male Wistar rats weighing 180-200 g, divided into four groups: a control (C) group, which received a standard diet and water ad libitum; an ethanol-treated group (EtOH) which received the same standard diet and 10% (v/v) ethanol in the water; two groups which had the same ethanol solution instead of drinking water, and their diet contained 5% and 10%, respectively, fenugreek flour (EtOHTr5 and EtOHTr10). The alcohol and fenugreek flour were administered daily, for 30 days. At the end of the treatment period, animals were killed and liver samples were collected, for histological and ultrastructural investigations. The liver of EtOH animals showed macro-and microvesicular fat infiltrations, as well as inflammation in the periportal regions, which are the first areas subjected to neutrophil invasion. Ethanol induced major modifications in hepatocyte nuclei, which had an irregular outline and large heterochromatin areas. Hepatocytes fatty infiltration was accompanied by dilatation of sinusoids, altered function of Ito cells and proliferation of smooth endoplasmic reticulum (SER). Mitochondria became condensed, electrondense, with dilated cristae. In EtOHTr5 and EtOHTr10 groups, which received fenugreek flour and ethanol, the structural and ultrastructural modifications caused by alcohol intoxication were much attenuated, better results being obtained with 5% fenugreek. SER proliferation was substantially reduced and the appearance of mitochondria was similar to the one in control animals. The lipid droplets followed the normal transit from parenchimal cells to Ito cells, which preserved their function as lipocytes. Periportal inflammation was also diminished. The majorities of parenchymal cells nuclei preserved their spherical shape and were predominantly euchromatic, with little, evenly dispersed heterochromatin. Our results plead for the utilization of Trigonella seeds as a dietary supplement, to prevent cellular alteration and the onset of steatosis and fibrosis, in subjects with liver conditions produced by excessive drinking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-22
Number of pages10
JournalStudia Universitatis Vasile Goldis Arad, Seria Stiintele Vietii
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2011


  • Hepatocyte ultrastructure
  • Hepatoprotective effects
  • Trigonella seeds

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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  • Cite this

    Pribac, G. C., Craciun, C., Rosioru, C., Ardelean, A., Czapar, M., Mathe, E., Simeoni, I., Covaci, A., Avram, C., Damian, S., & Mos, L. (2011). Experimental studies of fenugreek seed treatment on rats intoxicated with ethanol. Studia Universitatis Vasile Goldis Arad, Seria Stiintele Vietii, 21(SUPPL. 1), 13-22.