2017 Volume 30 Issue 4 Pages 291-306
The Styela clava tunic (SCT) is known as a good raw material for preparing anti-inflammatory compounds, wound healing films, guided bone regeneration, and food additives. To investigate whether ethanol extracts of the SCT (EtSCT) could protect against hepatic injury induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) in ICR mice, alterations in serum biochemical indicators, histopathology, hepatic apoptosis, inflammation, and fibrosis were observed in ICR mice pretreated with EtSCT for 5 days before CCl4 injection. EtSCT contained 15.6 mg/g of flavonoid and 37.5 mg/g phenolic contents with high 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity (93.3%) and metal chelation activity (46.5%). The EtSCT+CCl4-treated groups showed decreased levels of ALT, LDH, and AST, indicating toxicity and a necrotic area in the liver, while the level of ALP remained constant. The formation of active caspase-3 and enhancement of Bax/Bcl-2 expression was effectively inhibited in the EtSCT+CCl4-treated groups. Furthermore, the levels of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and the phosphorylation of p38 in the TNF-α downstream signaling pathway rapidly recovered in the EtSCT+CCl4-treated groups. The EtSCT+CCl4-treated groups showed a significant decrease in hepatic fibrosis markers including collagen accumulation, MMP-2 expression, TGF-β1 concentration, and phosphorylation of Smad2/3. Moreover, a significant decline in malondialdehyde (MDA) concentration and enhancement of superoxide dismutase (SOD) expression were observed in the EtSCT+CCl4-treated groups. Taken together, these results indicate that EtSCT can protect against hepatic injury induced by CCl4-derived reactive intermediates through the suppression of hepatic apoptosis, inflammation, and fibrosis.