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, 29 (2), 91-100

NF-kappaB in Liver Diseases: A Target for Drug Therapy


NF-kappaB in Liver Diseases: A Target for Drug Therapy

Pablo Muriel. J Appl Toxicol.


There are five nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) transcription factors with important roles in innate immunity, liver inflammation, fibrosis and apoptosis prevention. Several inhibitors of NF-kappaB, like caffeic acid, captopril, curcumin, pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate, resveratrol, silymarin and thalidomide, have demonstrated antinecrotic, anticholestatic, antifibrotic and anticancer activities in the liver. A link between inflammation and hepatocellular carcinoma through the NF-kappaB pathway has been observed, providing ample experimental support for the tumor-promoting function of NF-kappaB in various models of cancer. NF-kappaB has been associated with the induction of proinflammatory gene expression and has attracted interest as a target for the treatment of inflammatory disease. However, despite much attention being focused on the deleterious effects of NF-kappaB, activation of this factor during the resolution of inflammation is associated with the production of antiinflammatory molecules like interleukin (IL)-10 and the onset of apoptosis. This suggests that NF-kappaB has an antiinflammatory role in vivo involving the regulation of the resolution of inflammation. Also, NF-kappaB promotes liver regeneration by upregulating IL-6 and other molecules like hepatocyte growth factor. It has been postulated that the beneficial properties of NF-kappaB are due to p50 homodimers, whose activation prevents cholestatic and chronic liver injury. More basic understanding on the function of the diverse NF-kappaB factors is urgently needed in different physiological and pathological conditions, because depending on the subunit composition of the dimmer, the disease and the stage of the illness, inhibition of the factor may result in a beneficial or in a deleterious response.

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