Yu Gan Long reduces rat liver fibrosis by blocking TGF-β1/Smad pathway and modulating the immunity

Yu Xia, Bo Yu, Chaozhi Ma, Yijun Tu, Ling Zhai, Yanfang Yang, Dan Liu, Yanwen Liu, Hezhen Wu, Hanxiong Dan*, Pengtao You

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Yu Gan Long (YGL) is a Chinese traditional herbal medicine that has been used in the treatment of liver fibrosis for many years in clinical practice. However, its anti-hepatofibrotic mechanism has not been studied yet. In this study, the effect and mechanism of YGL in reducing liver fibrosis was demonstrated in vivo. Our results showed that liver fibrosis biomarkers collagen IV (Col IV), type III precollagen (PCIII), hyaluronuc acid (HA) and laminin (LN), were increased after CCl4 treatment and decreased by YGL. Among the liver fibrosis indicators, α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) was decreased by YGL in the CCl4-treated rats, while MMP2 and MMP9 was upregulated followed by TIMP1 downregulation. Proteins involved in liver fibrosis such as p-Smad2, p-Smad3 and Smad4 were down-regulated, while Smad7 protein was up-regulated by YGL after CCl4-induced liver damage. YGL also suppressed the increase of TGF-β1, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, IL-4 and IL-17 A induced by CCl4 treatment, while promoted IFN-γ expression. Finally, the transcription factors ROR-γt and GATA3 were decreased, while T-bet was increased after YGL treatment. These results suggested that YGL attenuated CCl4-induced hepatic fibrosis by accelerating the extracellular matrix degradation, blocking the TGF-β1/Smad signaling pathway and modulating the balance among IL-4, IL-17 A and IFN-γ, demonstrating YGL protective effect and its potential mechanisms in treating liver fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1332-1338
Number of pages7
JournalBiomedicine and Pharmacotherapy
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • Liver fibrosis
  • Mechanisms
  • Pathway
  • TGF-β1
  • YGL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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