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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (5): 428-433.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090506

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Urtica dioica extract on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic rats

Marjan Nassirl-Asla,Farzaneh Zamansoltianib,Esmail Abbasla,Mohammad-Mehdi Daneshic,Amir-Abdollah Zangivanda   

  1. a Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin 341197-5981, Iran
    b Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin 341197-5981, Iran
    c Department of Laboratory Sciences, Qods Hospital, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin 341197-5981, Iran
  • Received:2008-10-30 Accepted:2009-03-03 Online:2009-05-20 Published:2009-05-15


To investigate the effects of extract of Urtica dioica, a perennial herb in Iran, on lipid profile in hypercholesterolemic rats.

The effects of Urtica dioica extract were tested by using it as a supplement in a high-cholesterol diet. Male rats were fed a high cholesterol diet (10 mL/kg) for 4 weeks with Urtica dioica extract (100 or 300 mg/kg) or 10 mg/kg lovastatin supplementation to study the hypocholesterolemic effects of Urtica dioica on plasma lipid levels, hepatic enzymes activities, and liver histopathological changes.

Urtica dioica extract at 100 and 300 mg/kg significantly reduced the levels of total cholesterol (TC), and low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C) and also markedly decreased liver enzymes and weight in animals with a high cholesterol diet. Hematoxylin and eosin staining showed that in the 100 mg/kg extract of Urtica dioica group, the appearance of the liver cells was similar to the control group, and steatosis and inflammation were not found. In the 300 mg/kg extract of Urtica dioica group, mild steatosis was observed but mononuclear inflammatory infiltration was not found.

The hepatic histopathological results reflect the correlation of Urtica dioica extract with both liver weight and the levels of plasma TC and LDL-C. These results indicate that Urtica dioica extract has hypocholesterolemic effects in the animal model.

Key words: Alcoholic extract, Urtica dioica, Hypercholesterolemia, Rats


Control 10 3.70±0.10 1.96±0.10 2.05±0.20 1.30±0.10
Untreated 10 9.65±0.10** 3.26±0.10** 2.60±0.50 1.25±0.05
Lovastatin (10 mg/kg) 10 8.26±0.05** 2.94±0.07** 2.30±0.30 1.03±0.04
Extract of Urtica dioica (100 mg/kg) 10 7.48±0.50**△△ 2.58±0.06**△△ 2.21±0.05 1.10±0.10
Extract of Urtica dioica (300 mg/kg) 10 8.52±0.02** 2.84±0.01**△△ 2.60±0.05 1.20±0.10


Group n AST (U/L) ALT (U/L) LW/BW ratio
Control 10 95±30 94±6 0.040 3±0.000 8
Untreated 10 248±39** 173±30** 0.061 4±0.004 0**
Lovastatin (10 mg/kg) 10 59±10 90±7 0.060 4±0.003 5**
Extract of Urtica dioica (100 mg/kg) 10 12±10 86±19 0.057 3±0.001 5
Extract of Urtica dioica (300 mg/kg) 10 74±9 102±4 0.056 2±0.002 4

Figure 1

HE stained section of the rat liver (Light microscopy, ×100) A: Control group; B: Untreated group; C: Lovastatin (10 mg/kg) group; D: Extract of Urtica dioica (100 mg/kg) group; E: Extract of Urtica dioica (300 mg/kg) group."

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