Biochemical and Histochemical Assessment of the Protective Effects of Aqueous and Ethanol Fruit Extracts of Phoenix Dactylifera on Mercury-Induced Liver Toxicity

1,2*MG Abubakar, 1AN Agbon, 3NI Dibal, and 4HY Hassan

1Microscopy and Stereology Research Unit, Department of Human Anatomy, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria
2Nigerian Defence Academy, Kaduna, Nigeria
3Department of Human Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, University of Maiduguri, Borno, Nigeria
4Department of Science Education, Faculty of Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Nigeria

*Corresponding author’s Email:,


Mercury is a highly toxic metal that can severely damage the body systems of humans and animals. Date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) fruits have various pharmacological properties and are used in traditional medicine globally. This study aimed to evaluate the protective effects of aqueous and ethanol extracts of Phoenix dactylifera fruits on mercury-induced liver damage in Wistar rats. Forty-five male Wistar rats were divided into nine groups of five. The control group received distilled water; another group was given only mercury chloride (HgCl2). A third group was pretreated with silymarin before HgCl2 exposure. Groups IV and V were pretreated with aqueous extracts of Phoenix dactylifera (AFPD) at 500 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg, respectively, before HgCl2 exposure. Groups VI and VII received ethanol extracts (EFPD) at similar dosages before HgCl2 exposure. Groups VIII and IX were treated with AFPD and EFPD only at 1000 mg/kg. After two weeks, the rats were sacrificed, and blood and liver samples were collected for biochemical and histochemical analyses. The study found that mercury induced toxicity and oxidative stress, shown by significantly increased levels of liver enzymes (ALP, AST, ALT) and oxidative markers (MDA). Histochemical analysis showed severe liver damage in the mercury-treated group. However, pretreatment with both AFPD and EFPD extracts preserved liver enzyme activities and antioxidant levels, similar to the control group. The extracts also reduced oxidative stress and preserved liver structure. These protective effects are likely due to the antioxidant properties of the phytochemicals in the extracts, such as flavonoids and tannins.


Oxidative stress,