The protective effect of red mold rice (RMR) against liver injury in rats fed with a Zn-deficient diet for 12 weeks was investigated in this study. Rats were orally administered RMR (151 mg/kg body weight or 755 mg/kg body weight; 1 dose or 5 dose, respectively) with or without Zn once a day for 4 consecutive weeks. The severity of liver damage was evaluated by measuring the serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in Zn-deficient rats. RMR significantly inhibited the elevation of serum ALT levels by Zn-deficient induction. Hepatic antioxidase activity was also significantly increased in the RMR + Zn group (RZ), thereby suppressing the productions of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and proinflammatory cytokines in the liver of Zn-deficient rats. These findings suggested that RMR exerted hepatoprotective effects against Zn deficiency-induced liver inflammation.
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