Growth Arrest and Decrease of α-SMA and Type I Collagen Expression by Palmitic Acid in the Rat Hepatic Stellate Cell Line PAV-1

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Liver fibrosis is characterized by an activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSC). During primary culture HSC evolve from a quiescent into an activated phenotype which is characterized by α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) up-regulation, increase in cell growth, and extracellular matrix secretion. HSC culture with trans-resveratrol can lead to deactivation of myofibroblast-like HSC. We used an HSC line, PAV-1, to check the role of retinol and palmitic acid in the deactivation process of HSC. Using mass and metabolic-based methods, Western blot and immunocytochemistry assays, we demonstrated that treatment with palmitic acid (75 μM) alone or in combination with retinol (2 μM) significantly decreased cell proliferation and α-SMA expression. We also established that the association of both compounds strongly decreased collagen type I expression. Our results suggest the potential use of palmitic acid alone or in combination with retinol to induce HSC deactivation.

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