Yin-Chen-Hao-Tang (YCHT) consists of three aqueous extracts from Artemisia capillaris, Gardenia sp., and prepared Rheum rhabarbarum (rhubarb) (3:2:1). YCHT is characterized by its anti-inflammatory properties in liver regulation and relief of jaundice. We aimed to study the effects and mechanisms of action of YCHT on biliary obstructive cirrhosis.
Materials and Methods:
Secondary biliary fibrosis was induced in rats by bile duct ligation (BDL) and scission. One week after BDL, rats were randomly divided into a saline-treated BDL or YCHT-treated BDL group for 4 weeks. Liver function and hepatic hydroxyproline (Hyp) content were assessed. Types I and IV collagen (Col-IV), laminin, fibronectin, alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and proliferating cell nuclear antigen protein and messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) expression were assessed with immunohistochemistry and real-time polymerase chain reaction.
In the YCHT-treated BDL group, serum total bilirubin, total bile acids, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, and γ-glutamyl transferase were lower than those in the sham-operated BDL group. The proliferation of bile ducts in hepatic tissues and the Hyp content and Col deposition were also significantly lower than those in control rats. In addition, α-SMA and Col-IV staining was less obvious, and mRNA expression of Procol-α1 (IV), platelet derived growth factor subunit B (PDGF)-B, connective tissue growth factor, and transforming growth factor-beta in proliferative biliary epithelial cells (BECs) in the YCHT-treated BDL group was significantly lower than those in controls.
YCHT effectively reduces the formation of biliary obstructive cirrhosis mainly via inhibition of BEC proliferation by down-regulation of PDGF-B mRNA expression, inhibition of BEC profibrogenic paracrines, and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition pathological process.