Pharmaceutics, Vol. 14, Pages 45: The Beneficial Additive Effect of Silymarin in Metformin Therapy of Liver Steatosis in a Pre-Diabetic Model

Pharmaceutics doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics14010045

Martina Hüttl
Irena Markova
Denisa Miklankova
Iveta Zapletalova
Martin Poruba
Zuzana Racova
Rostislav Vecera
Hana Malinska

The combination of plant-derived compounds with anti-diabetic agents to manage hepatic steatosis closely associated with diabetes mellitus may be a new therapeutic approach. Silymarin, a complex of bioactive substances extracted from Silybum marianum, evinces an antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective activity. In this study, we investigated whether metformin (300 mg/kg/day for four weeks) supplemented with micronized silymarin (600 mg/kg/day) would be effective in mitigating fatty liver disturbances in a pre-diabetic model with dyslipidemia. Compared with metformin monotherapy, the metformin–silymarin combination reduced the content of neutral lipids (TAGs) and lipotoxic intermediates (DAGs). Hepatic gene expression of enzymes and transcription factors involved in lipogenesis (Scd-1, Srebp1, Pparγ, and Nr1h) and fatty acid oxidation (Pparα) were positively affected, with hepatic lipid accumulation reducing as a result. Combination therapy also positively influenced arachidonic acid metabolism, including its metabolites (14,15-EET and 20-HETE), mitigating inflammation and oxidative stress. Changes in the gene expression of cytochrome P450 enzymes, particularly Cyp4A, can improve hepatic lipid metabolism and moderate inflammation. All these effects play a significant role in ameliorating insulin resistance, a principal background of liver steatosis closely linked to T2DM. The additive effect of silymarin in metformin therapy can mitigate fatty liver development in the pre-diabetic state and before the onset of diabetes.

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