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Scutellarin Prevents Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) and Hyperlipidemia via PI3K/AKT-Dependent Activation of Nuclear Factor (Erythroid-Derived 2)-Like 2 (Nrf2) in Rats

Hua Fan, Xiande Ma, Peng Lin, Qiang Kang, Zhilong Zhao, Lina Wang, Dan Sun, Jiayi Cheng, Yajun Li

Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shenyang, Liaoning, China (mainland)

Med Sci Monit 2017; 23:5599-5612

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.907530

Available online:

Published: 2017-11-24

BACKGROUND: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition characterized by excessive fat accumulation in the form of triglycerides. The incidence of NAFLD and hyperlipidemia, with their associated risks of end-stage liver and cardiovascular diseases, is increasing rapidly. This study aimed to investigate the effects of scutellarin on the experimental NAFLD in high-fat diet fed and chronic stress rats, and its possible mechanism.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: Sprague-Dawley rats were fed with high-fat diet and subjected to chronic stress for 12 weeks, and administered orally with scutellarin for 4 weeks (n=8), and then blood and livers were harvested for analyzing. Enzyme activity assay, immunofluorescence, Western blot, and quantitative RT-PCR were performed to analyze the factors of the oxidant/antioxidant system and pathway.
RESULTS: After the high-fat diet and chronic stress administration for 12 weeks, serum and liver lipid metabolism of treatment groups with the different doses of SCU effectively improved and the degree of oxidative damage reduced. Using Western blot assay and immunofluorescence (IF) staining assay, Nrf2, HO-1, and PI3K, and AKT proteins significantly increased after SCU treatment for 4 weeks (P<0.01). The hepatic mRNA expression of HO-1, NQO1, and Nrf2 in SCU treatment groups was upregulated significantly through quantitative RT-PCR assay (P<0.05). However, compared to the positive control group, no difference was detected in the SCU (100 or 300 mg/kg) groups (P>0.05). These results indicate that SCU protects against NAFLD in rats via attenuation of oxidative stress.
CONCLUSIONS: The antioxidant effects of SCU on NAFLD are possibly dependent on PI3K/AKT activation with subsequent Nrf2 nuclear translocation, which increases expression of HO-1 and NQO1. We therefore suggest that breviscapine may be a potentially useful therapeutic strategy for NAFLD and hyperlipidemia.

Keywords: Fatty Liver, Hyperlipidemias, NF-E2-Related Factor 1