Potential protective effects of a traditional Chinese herb, Litsea coreana Levl., on liver fibrosis in rats

J Pharm Pharmacol. 2010 Feb;62(2):223-30. doi: 10.1211/jpp.62.02.0010.


Objectives: It was found that total flavonoids from Litsea coreana Levl. (TFLC), which is a traditional Chinese medicine, had a preventive effect against hepatic steatosis in our previous study. This study was designed to evaluate whether TFLC could improve liver fibrosis in rats.

Methods: The liver fibrosis model rats were treated with composite factors of high-fat emulsion (10 ml/kg) via gavage accompanied by a subcutaneous injection of low-dose CCl(4). Thirty rats were given composite factors plus TFLC (100, 200, 400 mg/kg), respectively, for 8 weeks.

Key findings: The results showed that TFLC (200 and 400 mg/kg) treatment significantly reduced the elevation of liver index (liver weight/body weight) and spleen index (spleen weight/body weight), alanine transaminase, aspartate aminotransferase, hyaluronic acid, laminin, procollagen III N-terminal peptide, procollagenase IV and hydroxyproline. In addition, TFLC treatment improved the morphologic changes of hepatic fibrosis, suppressed expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin, collagen I, transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta1 and TGFbeta receptor (TGFbetaR)1, and increased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma expression in the liver of hepatic fibrosis rats.

Conclusions: In conclusion, TFLC is able to ameliorate liver injury and protect rats from liver fibrosis. This process may be related to inhibiting the expression of transforming growth factor-beta1 and increasing the expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Tetrachloride / toxicity
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / isolation & purification
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Flavonoids / isolation & purification
  • Flavonoids / pharmacology
  • Flavonoids / therapeutic use*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Immunoblotting
  • Litsea / chemistry*
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / genetics
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / pathology
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Male
  • Molecular Structure
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spleen / drug effects


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Flavonoids
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Carbon Tetrachloride