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Life Sci. 2004 Apr 16;74(22):2781-92.

Secoisolariciresinol and isotaxiresinol inhibit tumor necrosis factor-alpha-dependent hepatic apoptosis in mice.

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Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630-Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


The effects of secoisolariciresinol (1) and isotaxiresinol (2), two major lignans isolated from the wood of Taxus yunnanensis, on tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-dependent hepatic apoptosis induced by D-galactosamine (d-GalN)/lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were investigated in mice. Co-administration of d-GalN (700 mg/kg) and LPS (10 microg/kg) resulted in a typical hepatic apoptosis characterized by DNA fragmentation and the formation of apoptotic bodies. Serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (sGPT) and glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (sGOT) levels were also raised at 8 h after d-GalN/LPS intoxication due to a severe necrosis of hepatocytes. Pre-administration of 1 or 2 (50, 10 mg/kg, i.p.) 12 and 1 h before d-GalN/LPS significantly reduced DNA fragmentation and prevented chromatin condensation, apoptotic body formation and hepatitis. Pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-alpha and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) secreted from LPS-activated macrophages are important mediators of hepatocyte apoptosis in this model. Pre-treatment with 1 or 2 significantly inhibited the elevation of serum TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma levels. In a separate experiment, both lignans had a significant dose-dependent protective effect on d-GalN/TNF-alpha-induced cell death in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes and TNF-alpha-mediated cell death in murine L929 fibrosarcoma cells. These results indicated that 1 and 2 prevent d-GalN/LPS-induced hepatic injury by inhibiting hepatocyte apoptosis through the blocking of TNF-alpha and IFN-gamma production by activated macrophages and direct inhibition of the apoptosis induced by TNF-alpha.

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