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Nutr Diabetes. 2013 Jul 22;3:e81. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2013.22.

Lycium barbarum polysaccharides protect rat liver from non-alcoholic steatohepatitis-induced injury.

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1
1] Department of Anatomy, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR, China [2] Gene and Cell Engineering Research Center, Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shenzhen, China.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Lycium barbarum polysaccharides (LBPs) are antioxidant and neuroprotective derivative from Wolfberry. However, whether LBP has a protective effect in non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-induced hepatic injury is still unknown.

OBJECTIVE:

We aimed to study the possible hepatoprotective effects and mechanisms of LBP on a diet-induced NASH rat model.

METHODS AND DESIGN:

In this study, female rats were fed a high-fat diet to induce NASH with or without an oral 1 mg kg(-1) LBP feeding daily for 8 weeks. After 8 weeks, blood serum and liver samples from each rat were subjected to histological analysis, biochemical and molecular measurements.

RESULTS:

Compared with control rats, NASH rats showed typical NASH features including an increase in liver injury, lipid content, fibrosis, oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis. In contrast, NASH+LBP-co-treated rats showed (1) improved histology and free fatty acid levels; (2) re-balance of lipid metabolism; (3) reduction in profibrogenic factors through the TGF-β/SMAD pathway; (4) improved oxidative stress through cytochrome P450 2E1-dependent pathway; (5) reduction in hepatic pro-inflammatory mediators and chemokines production; and (6) amelioration of hepatic apoptosis through the p53-dependent intrinsic and extrinsic pathways. The preventive effects of LBP were partly modulated through the PI3K/Akt/FoxO1, LKB1/AMPK, JNK/c-Jun and MEK/ERK pathways and the downregulation of transcription factors in the liver, such as nuclear factor-κB and activator protein-1.

CONCLUSION:

LBP is a novel hepatoprotective agent against NASH caused by abnormal liver metabolic functions.

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