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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] 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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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

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