Combination of pomegranate extract and curcumin ameliorates thioacetamide-induced liver fibrosis in rats: Impact on TGF-β/Smad3 and NF-κB signaling pathways.
Toxicol Mech Methods. 2020 Jul 27:1-23. Epub 2020 Jul 27. PMID: 32718261
Ayah M H Gowifel
Protection against liver injury and its consequences is considered an essential issue to minimize the number of annual deaths caused by liver diseases. The present study was designed to evaluate the potential role of pomegranate extract (PE) and/or curcumin in regression of thioacetamide (TAA)-induced liver fibrosis, focusing on their modulatory effects on Nrf2/HO-1, NF-κB, and TGF-β/Smad3 signaling pathways. Liver fibrosis was induced in male Wistar rats by intraperitoneal injection of TAA (100 mg/kg) three times a week, for 8 weeks. To assess the protective effects of PE and/or curcumin against TAA-induced liver fibrosis, rats were treated on a daily basis with oral doses of PE (200 mg/kg) and/or curcumin (200 mg/kg) for 8 weeks. The results indicated that PE and/or curcumin attenuated TAA-induced liver fibrogenesis, as evidenced by significant improvement in the liver function tests (AST, ALT, ALP, and albumin), oxidative stress biomarkers (MDA, SOD, and GSH), and inflammatory biomarkers (NF-ĸB, TNF-α, IL-1β, iNOS, TGF-β, and MPO), compared to TAA group. Moreover, treatment with PE and/or curcumin exerted a significant upregulation of Nrf2/HO-1 gene expressions along with significant downregulation of NF-ĸB, TGF-β, and phospho-Smad3 protein expressions, as well as α-SMA and collagen-1 gene expressions. The histopathological examination has corroborated these findings. In conclusion, hepatoprotective activities of PE and/or curcumin could be linked to their abilities to modulate Nrf2/HO-1, NF-κB, and TGF-β/Smad3 signaling pathways. It is worth noting that the combination of PE and curcumin exerted superior hepatoprotective effects against TAA-induced liver fibrosis, as compared to monotherapy.