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Research articles

ScienceAsia 42(2016): 382-391 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2016.42.382

Characterization of melanin extracted from apricot (Armeniaca sibirica) and its effect on hydrazine-induced rat hepatic injury

Hong-jiao Lia,b, Ju-xiu Lic, Zhong Zhaoa,*

ABSTRACT:     Melanin is a complex, highly coloured natural antioxidant with potent biological activities and diverse applications. A potential source of melanin is the Siberian apricot (Armeniaca sibirica) whose kernel skin is currently a waste by-product. To explore its potential, melanin from apricot kernel skin was extracted. The molecular mass was determined by gel chromatography and its structure was examined by elemental analysis, UV-Vis, infrared, and solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (13C-NMR) spectroscopy. In addition, its protective effect against hydrazine-induced hepatic injury in rats was evaluated. The results showed that melanin has <5% sulphur (S) content, indicating that it consists mostly of eumelanin. Its UV-Vis, infrared and 13C-NMR spectra were very similar to those of synthetic melanin, although it had relatively high carboxylate, aliphatic, and phenol-skeleton content. Two distinct fractions (2.4±0.12 and 0.±560.1 kDa) were detected. Injections of hydrazine at 65 mg/kg body-weight (b.wt.) doses resulted in significant (p<0.01) increases in lipid peroxidation (malondialdehyde contents) in liver homogenates and serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase activities (64%, 69%, and 98% increase relative to the controls, respectively). It also induced significant (p<0.05 or 0.01) decreases in liver homogenate catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase activities and reduced glutathione content (48%, 28%, 7%, and 98% reduction, respectively). Administering melanin prior to hydrazine, at 10 mg/kg b.wt., strongly inhibited these changes and ameliorated histopathological hepatic injury. The results indicated that melanin alleviated hydrazine-induced liver injury by relieving oxidative stress, which may provide a novel protective strategy for protection against liver diseases.

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a College of Forestry, Northwest A&F University, and Key Laboratory of Environment and Ecology in Western China, Ministry of Education, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, China
b College of Forestry, and Forestry Post-Doctoral Research Centre, Agricultural University of Hebei, Baoding, Hebei, 071001, China
c College of Food Technology and Engineering, Northwest A&F University, Yangling, Shaanxi, 712100, China

* Corresponding author, E-mail: zhaozh@nwsuaf.edu.cn

Received 14 Jul 2015, Accepted 0 0000