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    Rhubarb is a well-known herb worldwide and includes approximately 60 species of the Rheum genus. One of the representative plants is Rheum palmatum, which is prescribed as official rhubarb due to its pharmacological potential in the Korean and Chinese pharmacopoeia. In our bioactive screening, we found out that the EtOH extract of R. palmatum inhibited hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation by transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1). Chemical investigation of the EtOH extract led to the isolation of chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside, which was determined by structural analysis using NMR spectroscopic techniques and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESIMS). To elucidate the effects of chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside on HSC activation, activated LX-2 cells were treated for 48 h with chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside, and α-SMA and collagen, HSC activation markers, were measured by comparative quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and western blotting analysis. Chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside significantly inhibited the protein and mRNA expression of α-SMA and collagen compared with that in TGF-β1-treated LX-2 cells. Next, the expression of phosphorylated SMAD2 (p-SMAD2) and p-STAT3 was measured and the translocation of p-STAT3 to the nucleus was analyzed by western blotting analysis. The expression of p-SMAD2 and p-STAT3 showed that chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside strongly downregulated STAT3 phosphorylation by inhibiting the nuclear translocation of p-STAT3, which is an important mechanism in HSC activation. Moreover, chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside suppressed the expression of p-p38, not that of p-JNK or p-Erk, which can activate STAT3 phosphorylation and inhibit MMP2 expression, the downstream target of STAT3 signaling. These findings provided experimental evidence concerning the hepatoprotective effects of chrysophanol 8-O-glucoside against liver damage and revealed the molecular basis underlying its anti-fibrotic effects through the blocking of HSC activation.


    Yong Joo Park, Kwang Ho Lee, Mi Seon Jeon, Yong Hoon Lee, Yoon Joo Ko, Changhyun Pang, Bonglee Kim, Kyu Hyuck Chung, Ki Hyun Kim. Hepatoprotective Potency of Chrysophanol 8-O-Glucoside from Rheum palmatum L. against Hepatic Fibrosis via Regulation of the STAT3 Signaling Pathway. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 Nov 27;21(23)

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    PMID: 33261209

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