A Chinese herbal medicine, Gexia-Zhuyu Tang (GZT), prevents dimethylnitrosamine-induced liver fibrosis through inhibition of hepatic stellate cells proliferation

Jiun Yu Chen, Hsiao Ling Chen, Ju Chien Cheng, Hung Jen Lin, Yu Tang Tung, Chia Fan Lin, Chuan Mu Chen

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27 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological evidence: Gexia-Zhuyu Tang (GZT), also called Gexiazhuyu decoction (GXZYD), is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine for chronic liver diseases such as cirrhosis and liver fibrosis. Aim of the study: In this study, we have investigated the affects of GZT on a rat model of dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)-induced liver fibrosis. Materials and methods: In this study, the protective effects of GZT on DMN-induced liver fibrosis were measured using a rat model. Following 5 weeks of DMN-treatment (8 mg/kg, i.p., given 3 consecutive days each week), oral administration of GZT at 1.8 g/kg daily via oral gavage for 2 weeks beginning at week 13. Results: Both body and liver weights were significantly decreased. The reductions in body and liver weights corresponded with increasing liver damage severity. Furthermore, GZT-treatment remarkably decreased the levels of serum GOT (glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase) and GPT (glutamic pyruvic transaminase), and the mRNA expression levels of collagen alpha-1(I) and alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) in DMN-induced hepatic fibrosis. In addition, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) play a major role in various types of liver fibrosis through initial myofibroblast transformation. The proliferation of HSCs was inhibited by GZT. Treatment with GZT also induced HSC apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner. GZT treatment induced HSC apoptosis by facilitating Ca2 release from the mitochondria within 6 h. Subsequently, caspases 3 and 12 were elevated by 72 h after treatment. Conclusions: Our studies indicate that GZT exhibited both hepatoprotective and antifibrogenic effects in DMN-induced hepatic injury. These findings suggest that GZT may be useful in preventing the development of hepatic fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)811-818
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1 2012
Externally publishedYes



  • Dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)
  • Gexia-Zhuyu Tang (GZT)
  • Gexiazhuyu decoction (GXZYD)
  • Hepatic fibrosis
  • Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs)
  • Herb medicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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