Gypenosides (GPs), the predominant components of Gynostemma pentaphyllum, exert antifibrotic effects; however, the mechanisms underlying their ability to ameliorate liver fibrosis are unclear. Liver fibrosis was induced in C57BL/6 mice via subcutaneous injection of 10% carbon tetrachloride (CCl[Formula: see text] three times a week for two weeks. Then, CCl4 was administered in conjunction with intragastric GPs for another three weeks. For in vitro analyses, WB-F344, hepatatic progenitor cells (HPCs) were treated with transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-[Formula: see text]1) with or without GPs for 48[Formula: see text]h. The results showed that alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) activity, deposition of collagen, hydroxyproline content, and expression of alpha-smooth muscle actin ([Formula: see text]-SMA) and collagen type I (Col I) were significantly decreased after treatment with GPs ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text], [Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]). In the 5M CCl4 group, the expression of HPC markers, Sox9 and cytokeratin 19 (CK19), was significantly increased compared with the normal or GPs-treated group ([Formula: see text], [Formula: see text]). Immunostaining showed that the number of Sox9 and [Formula: see text]-SMA double-positive cells was higher in the 5M CCl4 group than in the normal group, but the addition of GPs caused this cell number to decrease. In WB-F344 cells, the expression of [Formula: see text]-SMA and Col I was significantly increased after treatment with TGF-[Formula: see text], whereas in the GPs treatment group, expression was markedly decreased ([Formula: see text]). The levels of TGF-[Formula: see text] and TGF-[Formula: see text]R1 were markedly reduced after GPs treatment both in vivo and in vitro. In conclusion, GPs ameliorated CCl4-induced liver fibrosis via the inhibition of TGF-[Formula: see text] signaling, consequently inhibiting the differentiation of HPCs into myofibroblasts.
Keywords: Gypenosides; Hepatic Progenitor Cells; Liver Fibrosis; TGF- Signaling.