Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter November 28, 2013

Virgin coconut oil protects against liver damage in albino rats challenged with the anti-folate combination, trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole

Chiagoziem A. Otuechere, Gbemisola Madarikan, Tinuala Simisola, Olubukola Bankole and Adeleke Osho


Background: Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole (TMP-SMX) is a broad-spectrum antibiotic. However, its use is associated with toxic reactions. Virgin coconut oil (VCO), derived from coconut, has been widely used throughout history for its medicinal value. The aim of this study was to investigate the beneficial actions of VCO against TMP-SMX-induced alterations in serum biochemical end points.

Methods: Twenty rats were divided into four groups. Group 1 (control) received no drug, whereas group 2 received TMP-SMX (8/40 mg/kg) twice daily for 7 days. Group 3 was administered coconut oil at a dose of 600 mg/kg body weight per day. The last group was treated with TMP-SMX (8/40 mg/kg) and coconut oil (600 mg/kg) simultaneously. Blood samples were collected from all groups on the 8th day of the experiment for measurement of serum biochemical parameters. Organ weights and coefficients were also evaluated.

Results: TMP-SMX caused a significant (p<0.05) increase in the levels of serum total bilirubin, lactate dehydrogenase, and alkaline phosphatase by 192%, 67%, and 41%, respectively, relative to controls. This was followed by a significant reduction in triglyceride and relative kidney weight by 40% and 7%, respectively. There were no significant differences (p>0.05) in the activities of serum aminotransferases, total acid phosphatase, γ-glutamyl transferase, uric acid, cholesterol, albumin, and urea levels. Supplementation of VCO ameliorated TMP-SMX-induced effects by restoring the levels of total bilirubin, alkaline phospahatase, and lactate dehydrogenase.

Conclusions: The results of this study demonstrate that the active components of coconut oil had protective effects against the toxic effects induced by TMP-SMX administration, especially in the liver of rats.

Corresponding author: Chiagoziem A. Otuechere, Biochemistry Unit, Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Km 46, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Redemption City, Mowe, Ogun State, 234, Nigeria, E-mail:


1. Abusin S, Johnson S. Sulfamethoxazole/trimethoprim induced liver failure: a case report. Cases J 2008;1:44.10.1186/1757-1626-1-44Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

2. Gasasira AF, Kamya MR, Ochong EO, Neil Vora N, Achan J, Charlebois E, et al. Effect of trimethoprim-sulphamethoxazole on the risk of malaria in HIV-infected Ugandan children living in an area of widespread antifolate resistance. Malar J 2010;9:177–85.10.1186/1475-2875-9-177Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

3. Katzung B. Basic and clinical pharmacology, 10th ed. Toronto, Canada: The McGraw-Hill Companies Inc., 2007.Search in Google Scholar

4. Nickels C, Jones IC, Stead LG. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole-induced hyperkalemia in a patient with normal renal function. Case Rep Emerg Med 2012; Epub ahead of print 13 Dec 2012. DOI:10.1155/2012/815907.10.1155/2012/815907Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

5. Bell TL, Forster JN, Townsend ML. Trimethoprim-sulfamethozale-induced hepatotoxicity in a pediatric patient. Pharmacotherapy 2010;30:539.10.1592/phco.30.5.539Search in Google Scholar PubMed

6. Fraser TN, Avellaneda AA, Graviss EA, Musher DM. Acute kidney injury associated with trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole. Antimicrob Chemother 2012;67:1271–7.10.1093/jac/dks030Search in Google Scholar PubMed

7. Ortiz R, Medina H, Cortés E, Cervantes E, Rodríguez L. Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole increase micronuclei formation in peripheral blood from weanling well-nourished and malnourished rats. Environ Mol Mutagen 2011;52:67380.10.1002/em.20670Search in Google Scholar PubMed

8. Ghazali HM, Tan A, Abdulkarim SM, Dzulkifly MH. Oxidative stability of virgin coconut oil compared with RBD palm olein in deep-fat frying of fish crackers. J Food Agric Environ 2009;7:23–7.Search in Google Scholar

9. Che Man YB, Marina AM. Medium chain triacylglycerol. In: Shahidi F, editor. Nutraceutical and specialty lipids and their co-products. Boca Raton, FL: Taylor & Francis Group, 2006:51–7.Search in Google Scholar

10. Villarino BJ, Dy LM, Lizada MC. Descriptive sensory evaluation of virgin coconut oil and refined, bleached and deodorized coconut oil. LWT Food Sci Technol 2007;40:193–9.10.1016/j.lwt.2005.11.007Search in Google Scholar

11. Nevin KG, Rajamohan T. Beneficial effects of virgin coconut oil on lipid parameters and in vitro LDL oxidation. Clin Biochem 2004;37:830–5.10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2004.04.010Search in Google Scholar PubMed

12. Nevin KG, Rajamohan T. Influence of virgin coconut oil on blood coagulation factors, lipid levels and LDL oxidation in cholesterol fed Sprague-Dawley rats. e-SPEN 2008;3:1–8.10.1016/j.eclnm.2007.09.003Search in Google Scholar

13. Hery W, Hernayanti, Agus P. Virgin coconut oil enriched with Zn as immunostimulator for vaginal candidiasis patient. J Biosci 2008;15:135–9.Search in Google Scholar

14. Ogbolu DO, Oni AA, Daini OA, Oloko AP. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. J Med Food 2007;10:384–7.10.1089/jmf.2006.1209Search in Google Scholar PubMed

15. Nevin KG, Rajamohan T. Effect of topical application of virgin coconut oil on skin components and antioxidant status during dermal wound healing in young rats. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2010;23:290–7.10.1159/000313516Search in Google Scholar PubMed

16. Zakaria ZA, Rofiee MS, Somchit MN, Zuraini A, Sulaiman MR, Teh LK, et al. Hepatoprotective activity of dried- and fermented-processed virgin coconut oil. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2011;2011:142739.10.1155/2011/142739Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

17. Hayatullina Z, Muhammad N, Mohamed N, Soelaiman I. Virgin coconut oil supplementation prevents bone loss in osteoporosis rat model. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2012;2012:237236.10.1155/2012/237236Search in Google Scholar PubMed PubMed Central

18. Ramaiah SK. A toxicologist guide to the diagnostic interpretation of hepatic biochemical parameters. Food Chem Toxicol 2007;45:1551–7.10.1016/j.fct.2007.06.007Search in Google Scholar PubMed

19. Ahmad HI, Khairul AA, Sawsan SA, Mohamed BK, Amin MM. In vivo oral toxicological studies of Nufera® virgin coconut oil. Malays J Pharm Sci 2011;9:27–37.Search in Google Scholar

20. Orisakwe OE, Hussaini DC, Afonne OJ. Testicular effects of sub-chronic administration of Hibiscus sabdariffa calyx aqueous extract in rats. Reprod Toxicol 2003;18:295–8.10.1016/j.reprotox.2003.11.001Search in Google Scholar PubMed

21. Bain VG. Hepatorenal syndrome, hepatopulmonary syndrome and now, hepatospinal syndrome? Liver Transpl 2003;9:995–6.10.1002/lt.500090917Search in Google Scholar PubMed

22. Pagana KD, Pagana TJ. Mosby’s diagnostic and laboratory test reference, 8th ed. Saint Louis, MO: Mosby, Inc., 2007.Search in Google Scholar

23. Olaleye MT, Akinmoladun AC, Ogunboye AA, Akindahunsi AA. Antioxidant activity and hepatoprotective property of leaf extracts of Boerhaavia diffusa Linn against acetaminophen-induced liver damage in rats. Food Chem Toxicol 2010;48:2200–5.10.1016/j.fct.2010.05.047Search in Google Scholar PubMed

24. Wang X, Zhai W. Cellular and biochemical in bronchoalveolar lavage fluids of rats exposed to fenvalerate. Zhongguo Yaolixue Yu Dulixue Zoghi 198;2:271–6.Search in Google Scholar

25. Ogutcu A, Suludere Z, Kalender Y. Dichlorvos-induced hepatotoxicity in rats and the protective effects of vitamins C and E. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 2008;26:355–61.10.1016/j.etap.2008.07.005Search in Google Scholar PubMed

26. Dayrit C. Coconut oil: atherogenic of not? (What therefore causes atherosclerosis?). Philipp J Cardiol 2003;31:97–104.Search in Google Scholar

27. Rahman MF, Siddiqui MK, Jamil K. Acid and alkaline phosphatase activities in a novel phosphorothionate (RPR-11) treated male and female rats. Evidence of dose and time-dependent response. Drug Chem Toxicol 2000;23:497–509.10.1081/DCT-100100131Search in Google Scholar

28. Yazar E, Elmas M, Altunok V, Sivrikaya A, Oztekin E, Birdane YO. Effects of aminoglycosidic antibiotics on renal antioxidants, malondialdehyde levels, and some serum biochemical parameters. Can J Vet Res 2003;67: 239–40.Search in Google Scholar

Received: 2013-5-8
Accepted: 2013-10-29
Published Online: 2013-11-28
Published in Print: 2014-5-1

©2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston