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

Chiagoziem A. Otuechere 1 , Gbemisola Madarikan 1 , Tinuala Simisola 1 , Olubukola Bankole 1 , and Adeleke Osho 2
  • 1 Division of Biochemistry, Department of Chemical Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State, Nigeria
  • 2 Department of Biological Sciences, Redeemer’s University, Mowe, Ogun State, Nigeria
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.

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