Arctigenin exhibits hepatoprotective activity in Toxoplasma gondii-infected host through HMGB1/TLR4/NF-κB pathway.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2020 Apr 28 ;84:106539. Epub 2020 Apr 28. PMID: 32361192
Toxoplasmosis is a parasitic zoonosis with the highest incidence in humans. Severe lesions due to acute toxoplasmosis have been recorded in the visceral organs including the liver, where hepatocytes and Kupffer cells are important innate immune cells. Arctigenin (AG) is a bioactive ingredient of Arctium lappa L. and increasing evidence suggests that AG exhibits anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-Toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii) effects. However, the role of AG in acute liver damage induced by T. gondii infection remains unclear. In this study, we analyzed the effects of AG against T. gondii-induced liver damage by establishing an in vitro infection model using a murine liver cell line (NCTC-1469 cells) and an in vivo mouse model with acute T. gondii infection of virulent RH strain. In the current study, AG effectively attenuated hepatocytes apoptosis and inhibited the reproduction of T. gondii. The results of in vitro and in vivo studies showed that AG significantly reduced alanine aminotransferase/aspartate aminotransferase activities and lessened pathological damage of liver. Moreover, AG suppressed T. gondii-induced inducible nitric oxide synthase production. AG also attenuated liver inflammation by inhibiting T. gondii-induced activation of the high-mobility group box1/toll-like receptor 4/nuclear factor-kappa B (HMGB1/TLR4/NF-κB) signaling pathway. These findings demonstrated that AG exhibited prominent hepatoprotective activities in toxoplasmic liver injury with anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the HMGB1/TLR4/NF-κB signaling axis. Thus, this study provides the basis for the development of new drugs to treat toxoplasmic hepatitis.