Puerarin protects against CCl4-induced liver fibrosis in mice: possible role of PARP-1 inhibition

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Liver fibrosis, which is the pathophysiologic process of the liver due to sustained wound healing in response to chronic liver injury, will eventually progress to cirrhosis. Puerarin, a bioactive isoflavone glucoside derived from the traditional Chinese medicine pueraria, has been reported to have many anti-inflammatory and anti-fibrosis properties. However, the detailed mechanisms are not well studied yet. This study aimed to investigate the effects of puerarin on liver function and fibrosis process in mice induced by CCl4. C57BL/6J mice were intraperitoneally injected with 10% CCl4 in olive oil(2 mL/kg) with or without puerarin co-administration (100 and 200 mg/kg intraperitoneally once daily) for four consecutive weeks. As indicated by the ameliorative serum hepatic enzymes and the reduced histopathologic abnormalities, the data collected showed that puerarin can protect against CCl4-induced chronic liver injury. Moreover, CCl4-induced development of fibrosis, as evidenced by increasing expression of alpha smooth muscle actin(α-SMA), collagen-1, transforming growth factor (TGF)-β and connective tissue growth factor(CTGF) in liver, were suppressed by puerarin. Possible mechanisms related to these suppressive effects were realized by inhibition on NF-κB signaling pathway, reactive oxygen species(ROS) production and mitochondrial dysfunction in vivo. In addition, these protective inhibition mentioned above were driven by down-regulation of PARP-1 due to puerarin because puerarin can attenuate the PARP-1 expression in CCl4-damaged liver and PJ34, a kind of PARP-1 inhibitor, mimicked puerarin's protection. In conclusion, puerarin played a protective role in CCl4-induced liver fibrosis probably through inhibition of PARP-1 and subsequent attenuation of NF-κB, ROS production and mitochondrial dysfunction.

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