Fucoidan Alleviates Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity via Oxidative Stress Inhibition and Nrf2 Translocation

Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Dec 14;19(12):4050. doi: 10.3390/ijms19124050.


Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely used analgesic and antipyretic drug that leads to severe hepatotoxicity at excessive doses. Fucoidan, a sulfated polysaccharide derived from brown seaweeds, possesses a wide range of pharmacological properties. However, the impacts of fucoidan on APAP-induced liver injury have not been sufficiently addressed. In the present study, male Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice aged 6 weeks were subjected to a single APAP (500 mg/kg) intraperitoneal injection after 7 days of fucoidan (100 or 200 mg/kg/day) or bicyclol intragastric administration. The mice continued to be administered fucoidan or bicyclol once per day, and were sacrificed at an indicated time. The indexes evaluated included liver pathological changes, levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in the serum, levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS), malondialdehyde (MDA), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione (GSH) and catalase (CAT) in the liver, and related proteins levels (CYP2E1, pJNK and Bax). Furthermore, human hepatocyte HL-7702 cell line was used to elucidate the potential molecular mechanism of fucoidan. The mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) and nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2) translocation in HL-7702 cells were determined. The results showed that fucoidan pretreatment reduced the levels of ALT, AST, ROS, and MDA, while it enhanced the levels of GSH, SOD, and CAT activities. Additionally, oxidative stress-induced phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and decreased MMP were attenuated by fucoidan. Although the nuclear Nrf2 was induced after APAP incubation, fucoidan further enhanced Nrf2 in cell nuclei and total expression of Nrf2. These results indicated that fucoidan ameliorated APAP hepatotoxicity, and the mechanism might be related to Nrf2-mediated oxidative stress.

Keywords: Nrf2; acetaminophen; fucoidan; hepatotoxicity; oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / adverse effects*
  • Animals
  • Biphenyl Compounds / administration & dosage*
  • Biphenyl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / drug therapy*
  • Chemical and Drug Induced Liver Injury / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / cytology
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Male
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Protein Transport / drug effects


  • Biphenyl Compounds
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Polysaccharides
  • Acetaminophen
  • fucoidan
  • bicyclol