Research Papers:

Plumbagin protects liver against fulminant hepatic failure and chronic liver fibrosis via inhibiting inflammation and collagen production

Huafeng Wang, Huan Zhang, Yuqing Zhang, Dan Wang, Xixi Cheng, Fengrui Yang, Qi Zhang, Zhenyi Xue, Yan Li, Lijuan Zhang, Luhong Yang, Guolin Miao, Daiqing Li, Zhiyu Guan, Yurong Da, Zhi Yao, Fei Gao, Liang Qiao, Li Kong and Rongxin Zhang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:82864-82875. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12655

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Huafeng Wang1,2,3,*, Huan Zhang1,4,*, Yuqing Zhang5,*, Dan Wang1,*, Xixi Cheng1, Fengrui Yang1,2, Qi Zhang1, Zhenyi Xue1,2, Yan Li1,2, Lijuan Zhang1,2, Luhong Yang3, Guolin Miao1,2, Daiqing Li6, Zhiyu Guan7, Yurong Da1,2, Zhi Yao2, Fei Gao8, Liang Qiao9, Li Kong10, Rongxin Zhang1,2

1Laboratory of Immunology and Inflammation, Department of Immunology and Research Center of Basic Medical Sciences, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China

2Department of Immunology, Tianjin Key Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Immunology, Key Laboratory of Immune Microenvironment and Diseases, Ministry of Education of China, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China

3School of Life Science, Shanxi Normal University, Linfen, China

4Clinical Laboratory, Tianjin Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine Affiliated Hospital, Tianjin, China

5Department of Hepatobiliary and Pancreatic Surgery, Tianjin Nankai Hospital, Nankai Clinical School of Medicine, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China

6Key Laboratory of Hormones and Development (Ministry of Health), Metabolic Diseases Hospital and Tianjin Institute of Endocrinology, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China

7Department of Pathogenic Biology, Weifang Medical University, Shandong, China

8State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China

9Storr Liver Unit, Westmead Millennium Institute, The Western Clinical School of the University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW, Australia

10Department of Histology and Embryology, Dalian Medical University, Dalian, China

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Rongxin Zhang, email: [email protected], [email protected]

Li Kong, email: [email protected]

Keywords: plumbagin, fulminant hepatic failure, liver fibrosis, hepatic stellate cell, inflammation

Received: August 08, 2016    Accepted: October 04, 2016    Published: October 14, 2016


Plumbagin is a quinonoid constituent extracted from Plumbago genus, and it exhibits diverse pharmacological effects. This study thoroughly investigated the effects of plumbagin on thioacetamide-induced acute and chronic liver injury. Results shown that plumbagin increased survival rate, reduced liver congestion and inflammation, and decreased macrophages and neutrophils in the fulminant hepatic failure model, and remarkably diminished liver fibrosis and inflammation in the chronic liver injury model. Furthermore, plumbagin significantly suppress the HSCs/myofibroblasts activation by reduced expression of markers α-SMA and COL-1/3, and reduced macrophage in liver. In the in vitro study, plumbagin induced apoptosis and suppressed the proliferation of LX-2 cells (human HSCs). Plumbagin treatment increased AMPK phosphorylation and attenuated NF-κB, STAT3, and Akt/mTOR signals in LX-2 cells, while SMAD2 phosphorylation was not changed. Noticeably, plumbagin promoted AMPK binding to p300 which is a cofactor of SMAD complex, this may further competitively decreases the p300/SMAD complex initiated transcription of COL-1/3 and α-SMA. Additionally, plumbagin hampered inflammation related NF-κB signal in RAW 264.7 cells. In conclusion, these findings indicate that plumbagin may be a powerful drug candidate to protect the liver from acute and chronic damage by inhibiting inflammation and collagen production.

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