Resveratrol is a natural polyphenol that has beneficial effects across species and various disease models. Here, we investigate whether resveratrol is effective against hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) using HBVX protein (HBx) transgenic mice. We found that resveratrol (30 mg/kg/d) has a therapeutic effect on HBx-induced fatty liver and the early stages of liver damage. Resveratrol decreased intracellular reactive oxygen species and transiently stimulated hepatocyte proliferation. Interestingly, resveratrol inhibited LXRα and downregulated the expression of the lipogenic genes, Srebp1-c and PPARγ. The decrease in Srebp1-c seems to further downregulate the expression of its target genes, Acc and Fas. In addition, resveratrol stimulated the activity of Ampk and SirT1. Thus, resveratrol has a pleiotropic effect on HBx transgenic mice in terms of the downregulation of lipogenesis, the promotion of transient liver regeneration, and the stimulation of antioxidant activity. Furthermore, at the later precancerous stages, resveratrol delayed HBx-mediated hepatocarcinogenesis and reduced HCC incidence from 80% to 15%, a 5.3-fold reduction. Resveratrol should be considered as a potential chemopreventive agent for HBV-associated HCC.
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