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Evidences demonstrate that sorafenib alleviates liver fibrosis via inhibiting HSC activation and ECM accumulation. The underlying mechanism remains unclear. Ferroptosis, a novel programmed cell death, regulates diverse physiological/pathological processes. In this study, we aim to investigate the functional role of HSC ferroptosis in the anti-fibrotic effect of sorafenib. The effects of sorafenib on HSC ferroptosis and ECM expression were assessed in mouse model of liver fibrosis induced by CCl4 . In vitro, Fer-1 and DFO were used to block ferroptosis and then explored the anti-fibrotic effect of sorafenib by detecting α-SMA, COL1α1 and fibronectin proteins. Finally, HIF-1α siRNA, plasmid and stabilizers were applied to assess related signalling pathway. Sorafenib attenuated liver injury and ECM accumulation in CCl4 -induced fibrotic livers, accompanied by reduction of SLC7A11 and GPX4 proteins. In sorafenib-treated HSC-T6 cells, ferroptotic events (depletion of SLC7A11, GPX4 and GSH; accumulation iron, ROS and MDA) were discovered. Intriguingly, these ferroptotic events were not appeared in hepatocytes or macrophages. Sorafenib-elicited HSC ferroptosis and ECM reduction were abrogated by Fer-1 and DFO. Additionally, both HIF-1α and SLC7A11 proteins were reduced in sorafenib-treated HSC-T6 cells. SLC7A11 was positively regulated by HIF-1α, inactivation of HIF-1α/SLC7A11 pathway was required for sorafenib-induced HSC ferroptosis, and elevation of HIF-1α could inhibit ferroptosis, ultimately limited the anti-fibrotic effect. Sorafenib triggers HSC ferroptosis via HIF-1α/SLC7A11 signalling, which in turn attenuates liver injury and fibrosis. © 2021 The Authors. Cell Proliferation published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


Siyu Yuan, Can Wei, Guofang Liu, Lijun Zhang, Jiahao Li, Lingling Li, Shiyi Cai, Ling Fang. Sorafenib attenuates liver fibrosis by triggering hepatic stellate cell ferroptosis via HIF-1α/SLC7A11 pathway. Cell proliferation. 2022 Jan;55(1):e13158

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PMID: 34811833

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