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.