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Liver fibrosis is a common pathological consequence of liver injury, which increases liver failure-related morbidity and mortality. Hence, anti-fibrotic treatment is urgently needed. Oxidative stress plays a pivotal role in the progression of liver fibrosis. Thus, targeting ROS may be an effective strategy for liver fibrosis treatment. In this study, we investigated four benzoquinones derivatives, including 5-isopropyl-2-methyl-1,4-benzoquinone (TQ), 2-tert-butyl-1,4-benzoquinone (Bu-Q) 2,5-dimethyl-p-benzoquinone (Dime-Q) and p-benzoquinone (Ph-Q), as well as the evaluation of their antioxidant activity and anti-fibrotic effects on activated hepatic stellate cells and TAA-induced mice. Electrochemical analysis showed that all compounds possessed antioxidant property. The result was first confirmed by in vitro experiments, which revealed potential anti-fibrotic activity of all four compounds at the cellular level. Benzoquinone derivatives act as ROS-scavenging molecules, which modulated the TLR4-CD14 signaling pathway to inhibit the expression of procaspase-1 and IL-1β in cells, induced apoptosis via a mitochondrial pathway by upregulating the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2 and by activating caspase-3, as well as inhibited the expression of the anti-apoptotic proteins FLIP and XIAP in activated LX-2 cells. In addition, a TAA (Thioacetamide)-induced mouse model was used to further validate the results. Treatment with benzoquinone derivatives significantly decreased the levels of liver injury markers and lipid peroxidation caused by excessive ROS, including aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), and malondialdehyde (MDA). Moreover, treatment with benzoquinone derivatives significantly inhibited extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition and downregulated the mRNA and protein expression of liver fibrosis markers, such as collagen I, alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and TIMP-1. In summary, these results indicate that benzoquinone derivatives may act as potential therapeutic drugs against liver fibrosis.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Chemico-biological interactions
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Natural analogs of TOCOPHEROLS exhibiting antioxidant activity. These tocol derivatives and isomers contain a benzopyran ring and an unsaturated isoprenoid side chain.
A natural tocopherol with less antioxidant activity than ALPHA-TOCOPHEROL. It exhibits antioxidant activity by virtue of the phenolic hydrogen on the 2H-1-benzopyran-6-ol nucleus. As in BETA-TOCOPHEROL, it also has three methyl groups on the 6-chromanol nucleus but at different sites.
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