Antifibrotic effect of silymarin in rat secondary biliary fibrosis is mediated by downregulation of procollagen alpha1(I) and TIMP-1.

Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Friedrich-Alexander University, Erlangen-Nuernberg, Erlangen, Germany.
Journal of Hepatology (Impact Factor: 10.4). 09/2001; 35(3):392-8.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Silymarin reduces hepatic collagen accumulation by 35% in rats with secondary biliary cirrhosis. The aim of the present study was to explore its antifibrotic mechanism.
Thirty female adult Wistar rats were allocated to (1) bile duct occlusion, (2) bile duct occlusion and oral silymarin at 50 mg/kg per day, and (3) sham operation and oral silymarin at 50 mg/kg per day. Steady-state mRNA levels for procollagen alpha1(I), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases-1 (TIMP-1), and transforming growth factor (TGF) beta1 were determined by multi-probe ribonuclease protection assay.
After 6 weeks of bile duct occlusion, liver collagen content was increased 12-fold, when compared with the sham-operated controls. These animals displayed 17-, 6.5- and 16-fold higher transcript levels for procollagen alpha1(I), TIMP-1 and TGFbeta1 (P < 0.01). Silymarin downregulated elevated procollagen alpha1(I), TIMP-1 and TGFbeta1 mRNA levels by 40-60% (P < 0.01). These lowered hepatic profibrogenic transcript levels correlated with decreased serum levels of the aminoterminal propeptide of procollagen type III.
Silymarin suppresses expression of profibrogenic procollagen alpha1(I) and TIMP-1 most likely via downregulation of TGFbeta1 mRNA in rats with biliary fibrosis. The serum procollagen type III propeptide level mirrors profibrogenic mRNA expression in the liver.

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