Artesunate alleviates liver fibrosis by regulating ferroptosis signaling pathway. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Artesunate alleviates liver fibrosis by regulating ferroptosis signaling pathway.
Biomed Pharmacother. 2019 Jan ;109:2043-2053. Epub 2018 Nov 26. PMID: 30551460
Liver fibrosis is a progression of chronic liver disease, which lacks effective therapies in the world. Attractively, more and more evidences show that natural products are safe and effective in the prevention and treatment of hepatic fibrosis. Artesunate, a water-soluble hemisuccinate derivative of artemisinin, exerts various pharmacological activities such as anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and immunomodulating abilities. However, the effects of artesunate on hepatic fibrosis are little-known. Here our study was performed to investigate the effect of artesunate on carbon tetrachloride (CCl)-induced mouse liver fibrosis and elucidate whether artesunate could alleviate liver fibrosis by regulating ferritinophagy- mediated ferroptosis in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Firstly, our results demonstrated that artesunate treatment could induce activated HSC ferroptosis in fibrotic livers. Moreover, primary HSCs isolated from different animal groups were cultured to detect biomarkers of ferroptosis including iron, lipid peroxidation, glutathione (GSH) and prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 2 (ptgs2) levels. The results revealed that artesunate remarkably promoted ferroptosis of activated HSCs. Furthermore, consistent with the experimental results in vivo, the data in vitro still indicated that artesunate treatment markedly induced ferroptosis in activated HSCs, which mainly embodied as declined cell vitality, increased cell death rate, accumulated iron, elevated lipid peroxides and reduced antioxidant capacity. Conversely, inhibition of ferroptosis by deferoxamine (DFO) completely abolished artesunate-induced anti-fibrosis effect. Surprisingly, artesunate also evidently triggered ferritinophagy accompanied by up-regulation of LC3 (microtubule-associated protein light chain 3), Atg3, Atg5, Atg6/beclin1, Atg12 (autophagy related genes) and down-regulation of p62, FTH1 (ferritin heavy chain), NCOA4 (nuclear receptor co-activator 4) in activated HSCs. Nevertheless, depletion of ferritinophagy by specific inhibitor lysosomal lumen alkalizer-chloroquine (CQ) inhibited artesunate-induced ferroptosis and anti-fibrosis function. These results suggested that ferritinophagy-mediated HSC ferroptosis was responsible for artesunate-induced anti-fibrosis efficacy, which provided new clues for further pharmacological study of artesunate.