Valerian inhibits rat hepatocarcinogenesis by activating GABA(A) receptor-mediated signaling.
PLoS One. 2014 ;9(11):e113610. Epub 2014 Nov 24. PMID: 25419570
Valerian is widely used as a traditional medicine to improve the quality of sleep due to interaction of several active components with theγ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) A receptor (GABA(A)R) system. Recently, activation of GABA signaling in stem cells has been reported to suppress cell cycle progression in vivo. Furthermore, possible inhibitory effects of GABA(A)R agonists on hepatocarcinogenesis have been reported. The present study wasperformed to investigate modulating effects of Valerian on hepatocarcinogenesis using a medium-term rat liver bioassay. Male F344 rats were treated with one of the most powerful Valerian species (Valeriana sitchensis) at doses of 0, 50, 500 and 5000 ppm in their drinking water after initiation of hepatocarcinogenesis with diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Formation of glutathione S-transferase placental form positive (GST-P(+)) foci was significantly inhibited by Valerian at all applied doses compared with DEN initiation control rats. Generation of 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine in the rat liver was significantly suppressed by all doses of Valerian, likely due to suppression of Nrf2, CYP7A1 and induction of catalase expression. Cell proliferation was significantly inhibited, while apoptosis was induced in areas of GST-P(+) foci of Valerian groups associated with suppression of c-myc, Mafb, cyclinD1 and induction of p21(Waf1/Cip1), p53 and Bax mRNA expression. Interestingly, expression of the GABA(A)R alpha 1 subunit was observed in GST-P(+) foci of DEN control rats, with significant elevation associated with Valerian treatment. These results indicate that Valerian exhibits inhibitory effects on rat hepatocarcinogenesis by inhibiting oxidative DNA damage, suppressing cell proliferation and inducing apoptosis in GST-P(+) foci by activating GABA(A)R-mediated signaling.