Xanthohumol, a main prenylated chalcone from hops, reduces liver damage and modulates oxidative reaction and apoptosis in hepatitis C virus infected Tupaia belangeri.
Int Immunopharmacol. 2013 Aug ;16(4):466-74. Epub 2013 May 10. PMID: 23669332
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in Tupaia belangeri (Tupaia) represents an important model of HCV infection. Xanthohumol (XN), a major prenylated chalcone from hops, has various biological activities including hepatopreventive and anti-viral activities. In this study, Tupaias infected with HCV RNA positive serum were used to evaluate the effects of XN on liver damage, oxidative reaction, apoptosis and viral protein expression in liver tissues. The Tupaias inoculated with HCV positive serum had elevated serum aminotransferase levels and inflammation, especially hepatic steatosis, and HCV core protein expression in liver tissue. In the animals inoculated with HCV positive serum, XN significantly decreased aminotransferase levels, histological activity index, hepatic steatosis score and transforming growth factorβ1 expression in liver tissue compared with the animals without XN intervention. XN reduced HCV core protein expression in liver tissue compared with those without XN intervention but the difference was not significant. XN significantly decreased malondialdehyde, potentiated superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase, reduced Bax expression, promoted Bcl-xL and inhibited caspase 3 activity in liver tissues compared with the animals without XN intervention. These results indicate that XN may effectively improve hepatic inflammation, steatosis and fibrosis induced by HCV in Tupaias primarily through inhibition of oxidative reaction and regulation of apoptosis and possible suppression of hepatic stellate cell activation. The anti-HCV potential of XN needs further investigation.