Caffeic acid phenethyl ester inhibits liver fibrosis in rats.World J Gastroenterol. 2015 Apr 07; 21(13):3893-903.WJ
To investigate the hepatoprotective effects and antioxidant activity of caffeic acid phenethyl ester (CAPE) in rats with liver fibrosis.
A total of 75 male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly assigned to seven experimental groups: a normal group (n = 10), a vehicle group (n = 10), a model group (n = 15), a vitamin E group (n = 10), and three CAPE groups (CAPE 3, 6 and 12 mg/kg, n = 10, respectively). Liver fibrosis was induced in rats by injecting CCl4 subcutaneously, feeding with high fat forage, and administering 30% alcohol orally for 10 wk. Concurrently, CAPE (3, 6 and 12 mg/kg) was intraperitoneally administered daily for 10 wk. After that, serum total bilirubin (TBil), aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels were measured to assess hepatotoxicity. To investigate antioxidant activity of CAPE, malondialdehyde (MDA), glutathione (GSH) levels, catalase (CAT) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) activities in liver tissue were determined. Moreover, the effect of CAPE on α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), a characteristic hallmark of activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), and NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), a key transcription factor for antioxidant systems, was investigated by immunohistochemistry.
Compared to the model group, intraperitoneal administration of CAPE decreased TBil, ALT, and AST levels in liver fibrosis rats (P < 0.05), while serum TBil was decreased by CAPE in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, the liver hydroxyproline contents in both the 6 and 12 mg/kg CAPE groups were markedly lower than that in the model group (P < 0.05 and P < 0.001, respectively). CAPE markedly decreased MDA levels and, in turn, increased GSH levels, as well as CAT and SOD activities in liver fibrosis rats compared to the model group (P < 0.05). Moreover, CAPE effectively inhibited α-SMA expression while increasing Nrf2 expression compared to the model group (P < 0.01).
The protective effects of CAPE against liver fibrosis may be due to its ability to suppress the activation of HSCs by inhibiting oxidative stress.