Indexed on: 23 Nov '18Published on: 23 Nov '18Published in: Cellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology
Activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) are the major source of extracellular matrix (ECM). Therefore inhibiting HSC activation is considered as an effective strategy to inhibit the process of liver fibrosis. This study aimed to investigate the underlying mechanism of methyl helicterate (MH) isolated from Helicteres angustifolia on the activation of HSCs. HSC-T6 cells were treated with various concentration of MH and autophagy was inhibited by 3-Methyl adenine (3-MA) or RNA interference. Cell viability was observed by MTT assay and cell colony assay. Cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed using flow cytometry. Autophagic vacuoles were observed by transmission electron microscopy and monodansyl cadaverine (MDC) staining. Moreover, autophagy-related genes and proteins were detected using real-time PCR and Western blot assays, respectively. MH significantly inhibited HSC activation, as evidenced by the inhibition of cell viability, colony formation and the expression of α-SMA and collagen I. MH caused cell cycle arrest in G2/M phase. Moreover, MH significantly induced apoptosis through regulating the mitochondria-dependent pathway and the activity of caspases. MH treatment significantly increased lysosomes and autophagosomes, and enhanced the formation of autophagic vacuoles and autophagic flux. Interestingly, inhibiting autophagy by 3-MA or RNA interference abolished the ability of MH in inhibiting HSC activation. On the other hand, induction of autophagy promoted MH-induced HSC apoptosis. Further study showed that MH-induced HSC apoptosis and autophagy was mediated by the JNK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways. Our results demonstrate that MH-induced HSC apoptosis and autophagy may be one of the important mechanisms for its anti-fibrosis effect. © 2018 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.