Artichoke is a plant with antioxidant properties. In this study, we investigated the effect of artichoke extract pretreatment on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced oxidative stress and hepatotoxicity. Rats were given artichoke leaf extract (1.5 g/kg/day) by gavage for 2 weeks and after then CCl4 (1 ml/kg; i.p.) was applied. All rats were killed 24 11 after the CCl4 injection. CCl4 administration resulted in hepatic necrosis and significant increases in plasma transaminase activities as well as hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA) and diene conjugate (DC) levels in the liver of rats. Glutathione (GSH) and vitamin C levels decreased, but vitamin E levels increased in the liver Of CCl4-treated rats. Hepatic Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities remained unchanged, but glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) and glutathione transferase (GST) activities decreased following CCl4 treatment. In rats pretreated with artichoke extract, significant decreases in plasma transaminase activities and amelioration in histopathological changes in the liver were observed following CCl4 treatment as compared to CCl4-treated rats. In addition, hepatic MDA and DC levels decreased, but GSH levels and GSH-Px activities increased without any change in other antioxidant parameters following CCl4 treatment in artichoke-pretreated rats. The present findings indicate that in vivo architoke extract administration may be useful for the prevention of oxidative stress-induced hepatotoxicity. (C) 2008 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.