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Cell Biosci. 2019 Oct 1;9:80. doi: 10.1186/s13578-019-0343-6. eCollection 2019.

Babao Dan attenuates acute ethanol-induced liver injury via Nrf2 activation and autophagy.

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1Tumor Immunology and Gene Therapy Center, Shanghai Eastern Hepatobiliary Surgery Hospital, The Second Military Medical University, 225 Changhai Road, Shanghai, 200438 China.
2Department of Urology, Shanghai Tenth People's Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, Shanghai, 200072 China.
Contributed equally



Babao Dan (BBD), a traditional Chinese medicine, has been used as a complementary and alternative medicine to treat multifarious liver diseases. In this study, we aimed to observe its protective effect on ethanol-induced liver injury and explore potential mechanisms.


Mice pretreated with BBD (0.125, 0.25 and 0.5 g/kg BW) were administrated by ethanol gavage (5 g/kg BW). Liver injury biomarkers and hepatic redox parameters were evaluated by histopathology as well as serum and hepatic content analysis. AML-12 cell was also utilized to determine the efficacy of BBD against ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity.


Drunkenness experiment showed that the latency was significantly increased and the drunken sleep time was decreased in mice pretreated with BBD. We then found that BBD could reduce hepatic lipid peroxidation and steatosis induced by ethanol exposure. BBD could also suppress ethanol-induced depletion of hepatic antioxidant enzyme. Besides that, BBD treatment lessened the induction of hepatic cytochrome P450 2E1, a major contributor to ethanol-mediated oxidative stress, and up-regulated the expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 and its two transcriptional targets hemeoxygenase-1 and glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit. Furthermore, autophagy induced by BBD contributed to hepatoprotection activity.


Our results suggest that BBD can markedly dispel acute ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity through multiple pathways including attenuation of ethanol-mediated oxidative stress, enhancement of the oxidative defense systems and activation of autophagy.


Autophagy; Babao Dan; Ethanol; Liver injury; Oxidative stress

Conflict of interest statement

Competing interestsThe authors declare that they have no competing interests.

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