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Semen Brassicae ameliorates hepatic fibrosis by regulating transforming growth factor-β1/Smad, nuclear factor-κB, and AKT signaling pathways in rats

Authors Cao S, Zheng B, Chen T, Chang X, Yin B, Huang ZH, Shuai P, Han L

Received 24 October 2017

Accepted for publication 12 March 2018

Published 11 May 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 1205—1213

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S155053

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Palas Chanda

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Sukesh Voruganti


Si Cao,1,2,* Baoping Zheng,3,* Tao Chen,4 Xinfeng Chang,4 Bao Yin,1 Zhihua Huang,4 Ping Shuai,4 Limin Han2

1School of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine, Hunan University of Chinese Medicine, Changsha, Hunan, China; 2Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou, Jiangxi, China; 3Department of Chinese Medicine, The First Affiliated Hospital, Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou, Jiangxi, China; 4School of Basic Medical Sciences, Gannan Medical University, Ganzhou, Jiangxi, China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: There is no effective treatment for liver fibrosis, which is a common phase during the progression of many chronic liver diseases to cirrhosis. Previous studies found that Semen Brassicae therapy can effectively improve the clinical symptoms of patients with asthma, allergic rhinitis, and chronic lung diseases; however, its effects on liver fibrosis in rats and its possible mechanisms of action remain unclear.
Methods: Rats were injected intraperitoneally with 4% thioacetamide aqueous solution (5 mL·kg-1) at a dose of 200 mg·kg-1 twice a week for 8 consecutive weeks to establish the liver fibrosis model and were then treated with different concentrations of Semen Brassicae extract. After Semen Brassicae treatment, the morphology of the liver tissue was analyzed using hematoxylin and eosin and Masson’s trichrome staining, and liver index and liver fibrosis grade were calculated. Thereafter, the levels of collagen-I, collagen-III, α-SMA, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1, p-Smad 2/3, Smad 2/3, Smad4, NF-κB-p65, p-NF-κB-p65, IL-1β, IL-6, AKT, and p-AKT were determined using Western blotting.
Results: Compared with the untreated model group, the Semen Brassicae-treated group showed significantly decreased liver function indices; expression levels of collagen-I, collagen-III, and α-SMA; and hepatic fibrosis. Further studies also showed that the expression of TGF-β1, Smad4, p-Smad 2/3/Smad 2/3, p-NF-κB-p65/NF-κB-p65, IL-1β, IL-6, and p-AKT/AKT significantly decreased after the treatment.
Conclusion: These results indicate that Semen Brassicae exhibits an anti-hepatic fibrosis effect, and the underlying mechanism of action may be related to the regulation of TGF-β1/Smad, NF-κB, and AKT signaling pathways and the reduction of extracellular matrix deposition.

Keywords: hepatic fibrosis, Semen Brassicae, NF-κB, AKT, TGF-β1

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