Effects of Sho-saiko-to, a Japanese herbal medicine, on hepatic fibrosis in rats

Hepatology. 1999 Jan;29(1):149-60. doi: 10.1002/hep.510290108.


It has been shown that lipid peroxidation is associated with hepatic fibrosis and stellate cell activation. Sho-saiko-to (TJ-9) is an herbal medicine, which is commonly used to treat chronic hepatitis in Japan, although the mechanism by which TJ-9 protects against hepatic fibrosis is not known. As a result, we assayed the preventive and therapeutic effects of TJ-9 on experimental hepatic fibrosis, induced in rats by dimethylnitrosamine (DMN) or pig serum (PS), and on rat stellate cells and hepatocytes in primary culture, and assessed the antioxidative activities and the active components of TJ-9. Male Wistar rats were given a single intraperitoneal injection of 40 mg/kg DMN or 0.5 mL PS twice weekly for 10 weeks. In each model, rats were fed a basal diet throughout, or the same diet, which also contained 1.5% TJ-9, for 2 weeks before treatment or for the last 2 weeks of treatment. TJ-9 suppressed the induction of hepatic fibrosis, increased hepatic retinoids, and reduced the hepatic levels of collagen and malondialdehyde (MDA), a production of lipid peroxidation. Immunohistochemical examination showed that TJ-9 reduced the deposition of type I collagen and the number of alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) positive-stellate cells in the liver and inhibited, not only lipid peroxidation in cultured rat hepatocytes that were undergoing oxidative stress, but also the production of type I collagen, alpha-SMA expression, cell proliferation, and oxidative burst in cultured rat stellate cells. In addition, TJ-9 inhibited Fe2+/adenosine 5'-diphosphate-induced lipid peroxidation in rat liver mitochondria in a dose-dependent manner and showed radical scavenging activity. Among the active components of TJ-9, baicalin and baicalein were found to be mainly responsible for the antioxidative activity. These findings suggest that Sho-saiko-to (TJ-9) functions as a potent antifibrosuppressant by inhibition of lipid peroxidation in hepatocytes and stellate cells in vivo.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Experimental / pathology
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Liver / drug effects
  • Mitochondria, Liver / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Oxygen Consumption / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Respiratory Burst / drug effects
  • Retinoids / metabolism
  • Superoxides / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Retinoids
  • Superoxides
  • saiko-keishi-to
  • Collagen