Curcumin suppresses the expression of extracellular matrix genes in activated hepatic stellate cells by inhibiting gene expression of connective tissue growth factor.
Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 May;290(5):G883-93. Epub 2005 Nov 23. PMID: 16306131
Department of Pathology, Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center-Shreveport, 1501 Kings Hwy., Shreveport, LA 71130, USA.
Upon liver injury, quiescent hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), the most relevant cell type for hepatic fibrogenesis, become active and overproduce extracellular matrix (ECM). Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) promotes ECM production. Overexpression of CTGF during hepatic fibrogenesis is induced by transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta. We recently demonstrated that curcumin reduced cell growth and inhibited ECM gene expression in activated HSCs. Curcumin induced gene expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma and stimulated its activity in activated HSCs, which was required for curcumin to suppress ECM gene expression, including alphaI(I)-collagen. The underlying mechanisms remain largely unknown. The aim of this study was to elucidate the mechanisms by which curcumin suppresses alphaI(I)-collagen gene expression in activated HSCs. We hypothesize that inhibition of alphaI(I)-collagen gene expression in HSCs by curcumin is mediated by suppressing CTGF gene expression through attenuating oxidative stress and interrupting TGF-beta signaling. The present report demonstrated that curcumin significantly reduced the abundance of CTGF in passaged HSCs and suppressed its gene expression. Exogenous CTGF dose dependently abrogated the inhibitory effect of curcumin. Activation of PPAR-gamma by curcumin resulted in the interruption of TGF-beta signaling by suppressing gene expression of TGF-beta receptors, leading to inhibition of CTGF gene expression. The phytochemical showed its potent antioxidant property by significantly increasing the level of total glutathione (GSH) and the ratio of GSH to GSSG in activated HSCs. De novo synthesis of cellular GSH was a prerequisite for curcumin to interrupt TGF-beta signaling and inhibited gene expression of CTGF and alphaI(I)-collagen in activated HSCs. Taken together, our results demonstrate that inhibition of alphaI(I)-collagen gene expression by curcumin in activated HSCs results from suppression of CTGF gene expression through increasing cellular GSH contents and interruption of TGF-beta signaling. These results provide novel insights into the mechanisms underlying inhibition of HSC activation by curcumin.