Silymarin attenuated hepatic steatosis through regulation of lipid metabolism and oxidative stress in a mouse model of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Am J Transl Res. 2016 ;8(2):1073-81. Epub 2016 Feb 15. PMID: 27158393
Silymarin, which derived from the milk thistle plant (silybum marianum), has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for diseases of the liver and biliary tract. Considering the therapeutic potential to liver disease, we tested efficacy of silymarin on hepatic steatosis with a high fat diet (HFD)-induced mouse model of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and investigated possible effects on lipid metabolic pathways. In our study, silymarin could attenuate the hepatic steatosis, which was proved by both Oil Red O staining and hepatic triglyceride (TG) level determination. Furthermore, compared with INT-747, a potent and selective FXR agonist, silymarin could preserve plasmatic high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) to a higher level and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) to a lower level, which benefited more to the circulation system. Through real-time PCR analysis, we clarified a vital protective role of silymarin in mRNA regulation of genes involved in lipid metabolism and oxidative stress. It was also shown that silymarin had no effects on body weight, food intake, and liver transaminase. Taken together, silymarin could attenuate hepatic steatosis in a mouse model of NAFLD through regulation of lipid metabolism and oxidative stress, and benefit to the circulation system. All these findings shed new light on NAFLD treatment.