[Tanshinone Ⅱ_A inhibits ferroptosis via Nrf2 signaling pathway to protect liver in rats of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease]

Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi. 2024 Mar;49(6):1611-1620. doi: 10.19540/j.cnki.cjcmm.20231229.501.
[Article in Chinese]


This study investigated the protective effect of tanshinone Ⅱ_A(TSⅡ_A) on the liver in the rat model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease(NAFLD) and the mechanism of TSⅡ_A in regulating ferroptosis via the nuclear factor E2-related factor 2(Nrf2) signaling pathway. The rat model of NAFLD was established with a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. The successfully modeled rats were assigned into model group, low-and high-dose TSⅡ_A groups, and inhibitor group, and normal control group was set. Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was employed to determine the content of superoxide dismutase(SOD) and malondialdehyde(MDA) in the serum of rats in each group. A biochemical analyzer was used to measure the content of aspartate aminotransferase(AST), alaninl aminotransferase(ALT), total cholesterol(TC), and triglycerides(TG). Hematoxylin-eosin(HE) staining was used to detect pathological damage in liver tissue. Terminal-deoxynucleoitidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling(TUNEL) was employed to examine the apoptosis of the liver tissue. Oil red O staining, MitoSOX staining, and Prussian blue staining were conducted to reveal lipid deposition, the content of reactive oxygen species(ROS), and iron deposition in liver tissue. Western blot was employed to determine the expression of Nrf2, heme oxygenase-1(HO-1), glutathione peroxidase 4(GPX4), ferroptosis suppressor protein 1(FSP1), B cell lymphoma-2(Bcl-2), and Bcl-2 associated X protein(Bax) in the liver tissue. The result showed that TSⅡ_A significantly reduced the content of MDA, AST, ALT, TC, and TG in the serum, increased the activity of SOD, decreased the apoptosis rate, lipid deposition, ROS, and iron deposition in the liver tissue, up-regulated the expression of Nrf2, HO-1, FSP1, GPX, and Bcl-2, and inhibited the expression of Bax in the liver tissue of NAFLD rats. However, ML385 partially reversed the protective effect of TSⅡ_A on the liver tissue. In conclusion, TSⅡ_A could inhibit ferroptosis in the hepatocytes and decrease the ROS and lipid accumulation in the liver tissue of NAFLD rats by activating the Nrf2 signaling pathway.

Keywords: ferroptosis; lipid deposition; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; nuclear factor E2-related factor 2 signaling pathway; tanshinone Ⅱ_A.

Publication types

  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Abietanes*
  • Animals
  • Ferroptosis*
  • Iron / metabolism
  • Liver
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / drug therapy
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / genetics
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • tanshinone
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Triglycerides
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Iron
  • Abietanes