Fuzheng Huayu Recipe Ameliorates Liver Fibrosis by Restoring Balance between Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition and Mesenchymal-to-Epithelial Transition in Hepatic Stellate Cells.
Biomed Res Int. 2015 ;2015:935903. Epub 2015 Dec 31. PMID: 26881209
Activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) depending on epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) reflects the key event of liver fibrosis. Contrastively, mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) of HSCs facilitates the fibrosis resolution. Here we investigated the effect of Fuzheng Huayu (FZHY) recipe, a Chinese herbal decoction made of Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae, Semen Persicae, Cordyceps sinensis, Pollen Pini, and Gynostemma pentaphyllum, on liver fibrosis concerning the balance of EMT and MET in HSCs. In contrast to the increased TGF-β 1/BMP-7 ratio in activated HSCs, FZHY administration induced significant upregulation of BMP-7 and downregulation of TGF-β 1 at both transcription and translation levels. Restoration of TGF-β 1/BMP-7 ratio inhibited the expression of p38 MAPK and phosphorylated p38 MAPK, resulting in the reversal of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) to mesenchymal-to-epithelial transition (MET) as characterized by the abolishment of EMT markers (α-SMA and desmin) and reoccurrence of MET marker (E-cadherin). In vivo treatment of FZHY recipe also demonstrated the statistical reduction of activatedHSCs with EMT phenotype, which attenuated the carbon tetrachloride- (CCl4-) induced liver fibrosis in a dose-dependent manner. These findings may highlight a novel antifibrotic role of FZHY recipe on the basis of rebalancing EMT and MET in HSCs.