Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 39 Shi-er-qiao Road, Chengdu, 610072, Sichuan Province, PR China; Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu, Sichuan 611130, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
Cadmium (Cd) is a common heavy metal contamination that is highly toxic to liver. Puerarin (PU), a potent free radical scavenger, has been shown to exert cytoprotective effect in numerous pathological processes. However, whether PU affords protection against Cd-induced hepatotoxicity remains unclear to be known. Here, we aimed to investigate the protective effect of PU on Cd-induced hepatotoxicity in an immortalized mouse hepatocyte line, AML-12. First, Cd-induced cytotoxicity in AML-12 cells was obviously ameliorated by PU treatment. Also, Cd-induced apoptotic cell death was markedly alleviated by PU treatment, evidenced by two methods. Simultaneously, Cd-elevated malondialdehyde and reactive oxygen species levels were significantly reduced by PU administration, demonstrating the antioxidant effect of PU against Cd exposure. Moreover, Cd-induced blockage of autophagic flux in AML-12 cells was obviously restored by PU treatment, evidenced by immunoblot analysis of autophagy marker proteins and tandem fluorescent-tagged LC3 method. Resultantly, Cd-induced autophagosome accumulation was significantly alleviated by PU treatment. In conclusion, these observations demonstrate that PU treatment alleviates Cd-induced hepatic cell damage by inhibiting apoptosis and restoring autophagy activity, which is intimately related with its antioxidant activity.