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Drug-related hepatotoxicity is the leading cause of acute liver failure, and hepatic problems are responsible for a significant number of liver transplantations and deaths worldwide. Calcium has been associated with various metabolic processes that lead to cell death and apoptosis, and increased cytosolic Ca2+ has been implicated in hepatotoxicity. This study was designed to investigate the effects of calcium channel blockers (CCBs) on isoniazid-rifampicin, zidovudine and erythromycin-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. Treatment groups comprised control, hepatotoxicant, hepatotoxicant along with each of silymarin, nifedipine, verapamil and diltiazem at subclinical, clinical and supraclinical doses. A day to the end of treatment for each model, rats were subjected to the hexobarbitone-induced hypnosis test. On the last days of treatment, blood samples were collected and serum was analyzed for relevant biochemical parameters. Animals were sacrificed after blood collection and livers were harvested, and samples obtained for in vivo antioxidant indices assay and histopathology. The hepatotoxicants significantly increased serum levels of aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and alkaline phosphatase (ALP), as well as duration of sleep in the hypnosis test. These drugs significantly reduced the hepatic levels of reduced glutathione (GSH), superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), glutathione peroxidase (GPx) and increased the level of malondialdehyde (MDA). The CCBs at the various doses significantly reversed the effects of isoniazid-rifampicin, zidovudine and erythromycin. The results obtained in this study suggest that the CCBs possess hepatoprotective activity in drug-induced hepatotoxicity and may be beneficial at the subclinical and clinical doses.
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