Xian-Ling-Gu-Bao induced inflammatory stress rat liver injury: Inflammatory and oxidative stress playing important roles.


National Center for Safety Evaluation of Drugs, National Institute for Food and Drug Control, Key Laboratory of Beijing for Nonclinical Safety Evaluation of Drugs, A8 Hongda Middle Street, Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area, Beijing, 100176, China. Electronic address: [Email]


BACKGROUND : Xian-Ling-Gu-Bao (XLGB) Fufang is an herbal formula that has been used in clinical settings to treat osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, aseptic bone necrosis, and climacteric syndrome. Despite its uses, XLGB treatment has been linked to potential liver injury. To date, there is a lack of clear demonstration of such toxicity in animal models.
OBJECTIVE : As animal models fail to reproduce the XLGB hepatotoxicity reported in humans, because human hepatocytes are clearly more sensitive to XLGB, this study was designed to investigate a more reliable animal model of such toxicity.
METHODS : We randomized rats into five groups, as follows: CON (control), XLGB, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), L-XLGB/LPS (XLGB, 0.125 g/kg; LPS, 0.1 mg/kg), and XLGB/LPS (XLGB, 1.25 g/kg; LPS, 0.1 mg/kg). These groups were treated with 0.5% sodium carboxymethyl cellulose (CMC-Na), XLGB suspension, normal saline, or LPS. The first administration of XLGB [0.125 g/kg or 1.25 g/kg, by mouth (PO)] or its solvent (0.5% CMC-Na) was delivered, and then food was removed. Twelve hours after the first administration of XLGB, rats received LPS [0.1 mg/kg, intravenously (IV)] or saline control. After 30 min, a second administration of XLGB (0.125 g/kg or 1.25 g/kg, PO) or solvent was administered. The rats were anesthetized at 12 h or 24 h following the second administration of XLGB. Liver function was evaluated by measuring liver weight, liver microscopy, serum biochemistry and plasma microRNA-122 (miR-122). The plasma levels of 27 cytokines were measured to evaluate inflammation. Moreover, the expression of cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1), nicotinic adenine dinucleotide phosphate (NADPH) oxidase and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) at protein levels were observed; immunofluorescence and immunohistochemistry were used to confirmed the hepatotoxicity of XLGB.
RESULTS : Hepatotoxicity in male rats with moderate inflammation induced by XLGB was indicated by liver histopathology, serum biochemical analysis, serum miR-122 levels, and immunofluorescent assessments. We observed significant increases in liver weight and liver indexes in male rats with moderate inflammation in response to XLGB. Histopathological assessment further showed that extensive hepatocellular necrosis and inflammatory infiltration were evident in rats co-treated with XLGB/LPS. The levels of serum transaminases [alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)], total bilirubin (TBIL) and triglyceride (TG), which are markers of liver function, were also significantly increased by XLGB/LPS treatment. Similarly, miR-122 was significantly elevated in XLGB/LPS treated rats relative to other groups. An immunofluorescent assessment showed extensive apoptosis in hepatocytes from these co-treated rats. What is more, XLGB can dose-dependently induce liver injury in male rats with moderate inflammation. Hepatic CYP2E1, neutrophil chemotactic factor (NCF-1), iNOS, and NOX-2 (an NADPH oxidase subunit) levels were increased in response to XLGB treatment, and staining for DMPO nitrone adducts further showed elevated oxidative stress level in XLGB/LPS-treated rats relative to the other experimental groups.
CONCLUSIONS : LPS and XLGB co-treatment in rats led to marked hepatotoxicity. This toxicity was associated with disrupted lipid metabolism, extensive liver necrosis and inflammatory infiltration, apoptosis, and expression of oxidative stress-related proteins. These results demonstrate a valuable model for the study of iDILI in the context of XLGB treatment, and further provide insights into the potential mechanisms by which XLGB may induce hepatotoxicity in humans.


Hepatotoxicity,Inflammation factor,Osteoarthritis,Oxidative stress,Xian Ling Gu Bao,

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