Schisandrin B (Sch B), a dibenzocyclooctadiene derivative isolated from the fruit of Schisandra chinensis, has been shown to protect against carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) hepatotoxicity in mice. In order to elucidate the molecular mechanism underlying the hepatoprotection afforded by Sch B, the effect of Sch B treatment on the sensitivity of mitochondria to Ca2+-stimulated permeability transition (PT) was investigated in mouse livers under normal and CCl4-intoxicated conditions. CCl4 hepatotoxicity caused an increase in the sensitivity of mitochondria to Ca2+-stimulated PT in vitro. The enhanced sensitivity to mitochondrial PT was associated with increases in mitochondrial Ca2+ content as well as the extent of reactive oxidant species (ROS) production and cytochrome c release. The hepatoprotection afforded by Sch B pretreatment against CCl4 toxicity was paralleled by the decrease in the sensitivity of hepatic mitochondria to Ca2+-stimulated PT as well as the attenuations of mitochondrial Ca2+ loading, ROS production and cytochrome c release under CCl4-intoxicated condition. In conclusion, the results suggest that the hepatoprotection afforded by Sch B pretreatment against CCl4 toxicity may be related to the increase in the resistance of hepatic mitochondria to Ca2+-stimulated PT.
2007 The Pharmaceutical Society of Japan