Propranolol is known to reduce portal pressure by decreasing blood flow to the splanchnic circulation and the liver. However, it is unknown if propranolol improves fibrogenesis and sinusoidal remodeling in the cirrhotic liver. The aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effects of propranolol on carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)–induced liver fibrosis in a mouse model and the intrinsic mechanisms underlying those effects. In this study, a hepatic cirrhosis mouse model was induced by CCl4 administration for 6 weeks. Propranolol was simultaneously administered orally in the experimental group. Liver tissue and blood samples were collected for histological and molecular analyses. LX-2 cells induced by platelet-derived growth factor-BB (PDGF-BB) were used to evaluate the anti-fibrogenic effect of propranolol in vitro. The results showed that treatment of mice with CCl4 induced hepatic fibrosis, as evidenced by inflammatory cell infiltration, collagen deposition and abnormal vascular formation in the liver tissue. All these changes were significantly attenuated by propranolol treatment. Furthermore, we also found that propranolol inhibited PDGF-BB–induced hepatic stellate cell migration, fibrogenesis, and PDGFR/Akt phosphorylation. Taken together, propranolol might prevent CCl4-induced liver injury and fibrosis at least partially through inhibiting the PDGF-BB–induced PDGFR/Akt pathway. The anti-fibrogenic effect of propranolol may support its status as a first-line treatment in patients with chronic liver disease.
Human Pathology – Elsevier
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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