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Paeonia lactiflora Pall. protects against ANIT-induced cholestasis by activating Nrf2 via PI3K/Akt signaling pathway

Authors Ma X, Zhao Y, Zhu Y, Chen Z, Wang J, Li R, Chen C, Wei S, Li J, Liu B, Wang R, Li Y, Wang L, Xiao X

Received 7 June 2015

Accepted for publication 28 July 2015

Published 2 September 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 5061—5074


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Xiao Ma,1,2 Yan-ling Zhao,2 Yun Zhu,3 Zhe Chen,1,2 Jia-bo Wang,4 Rui-yu Li,1,4 Chang Chen,1,2 Shi-zhang Wei,1,2 Jian-yu Li,3 Bing Liu,5 Rui-lin Wang,3 Yong-gang Li,3 Li-fu Wang,3 Xiao-he Xiao4

1Pharmacy College, Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pharmacy, 302 Military Hospital of People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 3Department of Integrative Medical Center, 302 Military Hospital of People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 4China Military Institute of Chinese Medicine, 302 Military Hospital of People’s Liberation Army, Beijing, People’s Republic of China; 5School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong

Background: Paeonia lactiflora Pall. (PLP), a traditional Chinese herbal medicine, has been used for hepatic disease treatment over thousands of years. In our previous study, PLP was shown to demonstrate therapeutic effect on hepatitis with severe cholestasis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antioxidative effect of PLP on alpha-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT)-induced cholestasis by activating NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) via phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway.
Materials and methods: Liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) was performed to identify the main compounds present in PLP. The mechanism of action of PLP and its therapeutic effect on cholestasis, induced by ANIT, were further investigated. Serum indices such as total bilirubin (TBIL), direct bilirubin (DBIL), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GT), and total bile acid (TBA) were measured, and histopathology of liver was also performed to determine the efficacy of treatment with PLP. Moreover, in order to illustrate the underlying signaling pathway, liver glutathione (GSH) content and mRNA or protein levels of glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLc), glutamate-cysteine ligase modulatory subunit (GCLm), Akt, heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), NAD(P)H/quinone oxidoreductase 1 (Nqo1), and Nrf2 were further analyzed. In addition, validation of PLP putative target network was also performed in silico.
Results: Four major compounds including paeoniflorin, albiflorin, oxypaeoniflorin, and benzoylpaeoniflorin were identified by LC-MS analysis in water extract of PLP. Moreover, PLP could remarkably downregulate serum levels of TBIL, DBIL, AST, ALT, ALP, γ-GT, and TBA, and alleviate the histological damage of liver tissue caused by ANIT. It enhanced antioxidative system by activating PI3K/Akt/Nrf2 pathway through increasing Akt, Nrf2, HO-1, Nqo1, GCLc, and GCLm expression. The putative targets network validation also confirmed the important role of PLP in activating Akt expression.
Conclusion: The potential mechanism of PLP in alleviating ANIT-induced cholestasis could to be related to the induction of GSH synthesis by activating Nrf2 through PI3K/Akt-dependent pathway. This indicates that PLP might be a potential therapeutic agent for cholestasis.

Keywords: Paeonia lactiflora Pall., cholestatic hepatitis, antioxidation, Nrf2, Akt

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