Salidroside Activates the AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Pathway to Suppress Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis in Mice

Hepatology. 2021 Dec;74(6):3056-3073. doi: 10.1002/hep.32066. Epub 2021 Oct 21.


Background and aims: NASH is becoming a leading cause of liver cirrhosis and HCC. Salidroside (p-hydroxyphenethyl-β-D-glucoside; SAL) has various biological and pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammatory, -oxidant, and -cancer activities. However, the therapeutic effect and underlying molecular mechanism of SAL in NASH remain to be further clarified.

Methods and results: In this study, we found that SAL alleviated lipid accumulation and inflammatory response in primary hepatocytes after palmitic acid/oleic acid (PO) stimulation. In addition, SAL effectively prevented high-fat/high-cholesterol (HFHC)-diet-induced NASH progression by regulating glucose metabolism dysregulation, insulin resistance, lipid accumulation, inflammation, and fibrosis. Mechanistically, integrated RNA-sequencing and bioinformatic analysis showed that SAL promoted AMPK-signaling pathway activation in vitro and in vivo, and this finding was further verified by determining the phosphorylation levels of AMPK. Furthermore, the protective effects of SAL on lipid accumulation and inflammation in hepatocytes and livers induced by PO or HFHC stimulation were blocked by AMPK interruption.

Conclusions: Our studies demonstrate that SAL protects against metabolic-stress-induced NASH progression through activation of AMPK signaling, indicating that SAL could be a potential drug component for NASH therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Glucosides / pharmacology*
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / drug therapy*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Phenols / therapeutic use
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Glucosides
  • Phenols
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases
  • rhodioloside