Paclitaxel alleviates liver fibrosis induced by bile duct ligation in rats: Role of TGF-β1, IL-10 and c-Myc

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Liver fibrosis is a global health issue that causes morbidity and mortality with no currently available treatment. It has been shown that low dose paclitaxel (PTX) can stabilize microtubules and inhibit the profibrotic transforming growth factor-beta 1 (TGF-β1) signaling pathway. In this study the effect of treatment with low dose PTX was examined using a model of cholestatic liver fibrosis. Bile-duct ligation (BDL) was induced in rats for 2 weeks then PTX (0.3 mg/kg/ip) was administered three times a week for 2 weeks. Administration of PTX ameliorated BDL-induced elevation in biomarkers of hepatocellular damage (alanine transaminase; ALT and aspartate transaminase; AST) and obstructive cholestatic injury (total bilirubin and gamma glutamyl transferase; γ-GT). PTX was able to correct the increase in liver weight to body weight ratio and the bile duct proliferation induced by BDL. Additionally, PTX treatment corrected the BDL-induced fibrosis of portal tracts, elevation of hydroxyproline content and increased alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) mRNA and protein expression. This antifibrotic effect of PTX was further examined through its inhibitory effect on TGF-β1 mRNA and protein expression in addition to c-Myc mRNA expression. Furthermore, PTX rectified the BDL-induced decrease in interleukin-10 (IL-10) mRNA and protein expression. In conclusion, this study suggests that PTX at low dose has the potential to treat BDL-induced liver fibrosis in rats possibly through suppression of TGF-β1 and c-Myc and activation of IL-10 pathways.

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