The Therapeutic Mechanisms of Propolis Against CCl-Mediated Liver Injury by Mediating Apoptosis of Activated Hepatic Stellate Cells and Improving the Hepatic Architecture through PI3K/AKT/mTOR, TGF-β/Smad2, Bcl2/BAX/P53 and iNOS Signaling Pathways.
Cell Physiol Biochem. 2019 ;53(2):301-322. PMID: 31343125
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Propolis is one of the most promising natural products, exhibiting not only therapeutic but also prophylactic actions. Propolis has several biological and pharmacological properties, including hepatoprotective activities. The present study aimed to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms of propolis against CCl-mediated liver fibrosis.
METHODS: Three groups of male BALB/c mice (n=15/ group) were used: group 1 comprised control mice; groups 2 and 3 were injected with CClfor the induction of liver fibrosis. Group 3 was then orally supplemented with propolis (100 mg/kg body weight) for four weeks. Different techniques were used to monitor the antifibrotic effects of propolis, including histopathological investigations using H&E, Masson's trichrome and Sirius red staining; Western blotting; flow cytometry; and ELISA.
RESULTS: We found that the induction of liver fibrosis by CClwas associated with a significant increase in hepatic collagen andα-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression. Moreover, CCl-treated mice also exhibited histopathological alterations in the liver architecture. Additionally, the liver of CCl-treated mice exhibited a marked increase in proinflammatory signals, such as increased expression of HSP70 and increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines and ROS. Mechanistically, the liver of CCl-treated mice exhibited a significant increase in the phosphorylation of AKT and mTOR; upregulation of the expression of BAX and cytochrome C; downregulation of the expression of Bcl2; a significant elevation in the levels of TGF-β followed by increased phosphorylation of SMAD2; and a marked increase in the expression of P53 and iNOS. Interestingly, oral supplementation of CCl-treated mice with propolis significantly abolished hepatic collagen deposition, abrogated inflammatory signals and oxidative stress, restored CCl-mediated alterations in the signaling cascades, and hence repaired the hepatic architecture nearly to the normal architecture observed in the control mice.
CONCLUSION: Our findings revealed the therapeutic potential and the underlying mechanisms of propolis against liver fibrosis.