Arctigenin suppresses fibroblast activity and extracellular matrix deposition in hypertrophic scarring by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress.
Mol Med Rep. 2020 Dec ;22(6):4783-4791. Epub 2020 Sep 25. PMID: 33174021
Hypertrophic scars (HSs) are a progressive fibroproliferation disorder caused by abnormal tissue repair after deep skin injury, and are characterized by continuous activation of fibroblasts and excessive deposition of extracellular matrix. Arctigenin (ATG), a phytomedicine derived from certain plants, displays antifibrotic effects in certain diseases, such as oral submucous fibrosis and peritoneal fibrosis. In the present study, to determine the antifibrotic potential of ATG in HS, a bleomycin (BLM)‑induced skin fibrosis murine model was established. C57BL/6 mice were randomly divided into Control group, BLM group and BLM+ATG group. At 1 day post‑bleomycin induction, the BLM+ATG group was intraperitoneally injected with 3 mg/kg/day ATG for 28 consecutive days. Pathological changes in the skin tissues were observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining. Collagen content was determined using a Sircol Collagen assay kit. Immunofluorescence staining was performed to detect the expression of TGF‑β1 and α‑SMA. The expression changes of various factors were detected by reverse transcription‑quantitative PCR, western blottingand ELISA. Compared with the BLM group, ATG treatment significantly alleviated skin fibrosis by reducing dermal thickness, collagen content and expression levels of extracellular matrix‑related genes (collagen type I α1 chain, collagen type I α2 chain, connective tissue growth factor and plasminogen activator inhibitor‑1) in BLM‑induced fibrotic skin. ATG also inhibited the transformation of fibroblasts into myofibroblasts in vivo and decreased the expression of TGF‑β1 in BLM‑induced fibrotic skin. Furthermore, the contents of proinflammatory cytokines, including IL‑1β, IL‑4, IL‑6, TNF‑α and monocyte chemoattractant protein‑1, were significantly decreased in the BLM+ATG group compared with the BLM group. Redox imbalance and oxidative stress were also reversed by ATG in BLM‑induced fibrotic skin, as demonstrated by the upregulation of antioxidants (glutathione and superoxide dismutase) and downregulation of oxidants (malondialdehyde) in the BLM+ATG group compared with the BLM group. Moreover, the results indicated that the antioxidant effect of ATG may occur via activation of the nuclear factor erythroid‑2‑related factor 2/heme oxygenase‑1 signaling pathway. Collectively, the present study indicated that ATG could ameliorate skin fibrosis in a murine model of HS, which was partly mediated by reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Therefore, ATG may serve as a therapeutic agent for HSs.