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Huang Qi decoction found to prevent BDL-induced liver fibrosis through altered Notch signaling


In this study, researchers from Shuguang Hospital, which is affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, investigated whether or not huang qi decoction (HQD) prevents liver fibrosis by affecting the Notch signaling pathway. The results of their study were published in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • Notch signaling is involved in ductular reactions and fibrosis.
  • Previous studies have shown that HQD can prevent the progression of cholestatic liver fibrosis (CLF).
  • In this study, the researchers induced CLF by common bile duct ligation (BDL) in rats.
  • At the end of the first week, they randomly divided the rats into a model group (i.e., BDL), an HQD group, and a sorafenib positive control group (SORA). They treated the rats for three weeks.
  • The researchers used tissue staining to determine bile duct proliferation and liver fibrosis.
  • They evaluated the activation of the Notch signaling pathway by analyzing expressions of Notch-1, -2, -3, and -4, Jagged (JAG) 1, and Delta-like (DLL)-1, -3, and -4.
  • They found that HQD reduced the deposition of collagen and the hydroxyproline (Hyp) content of liver tissue. It also inhibited the activation of hepatic stellate cells compared with the BDL group.
  • HQD significantly decreased the protein and mRNA expressions of TGF-B1 and alpha-SMA.
  • In contrast, HQD significantly enhanced the expression of the Smad 7 protein and reduced biliary epithelial cell proliferation.
  • HQD also reduced the mRNA levels of CK7, CK8, CK18, SRY-related high mobility group-box gene (SOX) 9, epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM), and the positive areas of CK19 and OV6.
  • In addition, HQD reduced the mRNA and protein expressions of Notch-3, -4, JAG1, and DLL-1, -3 compared to the BDL group.

The researchers concluded that HQD can prevent biliary liver fibrosis by inhibiting the Notch signaling pathway, making it a potential treatment for cholestatic liver disease.

Journal Reference:

Zhang X, Xu Y, Chen J-M, Liu C, Du GL, Zhang H, Chen GF, Jiang SL, Liu CH, Mu YP, Liu P. HUANG QI DECOCTION PREVENTS BDL-INDUCED LIVER FIBROSIS THROUGH INHIBITION OF NOTCH SIGNALING ACTIVATION. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 2017;45(01):85–104. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x17500070



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