Curcumin ameliorates liver damage and progression of NASH in NASH-HCC mouse model possibly by modulating HMGB1-NF-κB translocation
Curcumin, a phenolic compound, has a wide spectrum of therapeutic effects such as antitumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and so on. The study aimed to investigate the underlying mechanisms of curcumin to protect liver damage and progression of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in a novel NASH-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) mouse model. To induce this model neonatal C57BL/6J male mice were exposed to low-dose streptozotocin and were fed a high-fat diet (HFD) from the age of 4 weeks to 14 weeks. Curcumin was given at 100 mg/kg dose daily by oral gavage started at the age of 10 weeks and continued until 14 weeks along with HFD feeding. We found that curcumin improved the histopathological changes of the NASH liver via reducing the level of steatosis, fibrosis associated with decreasing serum aminotransferases. In addition, curcumin treatment markedly reduced the hepatic protein expression of oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory cytokines, and chemokines including interferon (IFN) γ, interleukin-1β and IFNγ-inducible protein 10, in NASH mice. Furthermore, curcumin treatment significantly reduced the cytoplasmic translocation of high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) and the protein expression of toll like receptor 4. Nuclear translocation of nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) was also dramatically attenuated by the curcumin in NASH liver. Curcumin treatment effectively reduced the progression of NASH to HCC by suppressing the protein expression of glypican-3, vascular endothelial growth factor, and prothrombin in the NASH liver. Our data suggest that curcumin reduces the progression of NASH and liver damage, which may act via inhibiting HMGB1-NF-κB translocation.