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Keywords:

  • CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein;
  • extracellular matrix;
  • H2O2;
  • hepatic stellate cell;
  • melatonin;
  • transforming growth factor

Abstract:  Considerable evidence shows therapeutic effects of melatonin on liver injury and the involvement of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in vivo. In the present studies, we investigate the protective effect of melatonin on H2O2-induced activation of HSCs in vitro. Compared with that in control HSCs, synthesis of collagen type I was increased in H2O2-treated cells. Melatonin pretreatment significantly inhibited the above effects of H2O2 in HSCs. CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha (C/EBP-α), which could partially reverse the phenotype of activated HSCs, augmented in HSCs pretreated with melatonin. Moreover, secretion of the most important fibrotic cytokine transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1) diminished in melatonin-pretreated HSCs. These results suggest that melatonin prevents H2O2-induced activation of HSCs and that the mechanism involves, at least in part, differential regulation of TGF-β1 and C/EBP-α gene expression.