One of the most well-known naturally occurring environmental heavy metals, lead (Pb) has been reported to cause liver injury and cellular apoptosis by disturbing the prooxidant-antioxidant balance via oxidative stress. Several studies, on the other hand, reported that mangiferin, a naturally occurring xanthone, has been used for a broad range of therapeutic purposes. In the present study, we, therefore, investigated the molecular mechanisms of the protective action of mangiferin against lead-induced hepatic pathophysiology. Lead [Pb(II)] in the form of Pb(NO3)2 (at a dose of 5 mg/kg body weight, 6 days, orally) induced oxidative stress, hepatic dysfunction and cell death in murine liver. Post treatment of mangiferin at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight (6 days, orally), on the other hand, diminished the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduced the levels of serum marker enzymes [alanine aminotranferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP)]. Mangiferin also reduced Pb(II) induced alterations in antioxidant machineries, restored the mitochondrial membrane potential as well as mutual regulation of Bcl-2/Bax. Furthermore, mangiferin inhibited Pb(II)-induced activation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) (phospho-ERK 1/2, phosphor-JNK phospho- p38), nuclear translocation of NF-κB and apoptotic cell death as was evidenced by DNA fragmentation, FACS analysis and histological assessment. In vitro studies using hepatocytes as the working model also showed the protective effect of mangiferin in Pb(II) induced cytotoxicity. All these beneficial effects of mangiferin contributes to the considerable reduction of apoptotic hepatic cell death induced by Pb(II). Overall results demonstrate that mangiferin exhibit both antioxidative and antiapoptotic properties and protects the organ in Pb(II) induced hepatic dysfunction
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