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Keywords:

  • Autoantibody;
  • autoimmune hepatitis (AIH);
  • Bupleurum chinense DC (Bc);
  • herbs;
  • Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (Sb)

Abstract

Background & Aims

Animal model suitable for studying herb-induced experimental autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) remains a challenging problem. A medicinal herb containing Scutellaria baicalensis Georgi (Sb) and Bupleurum chinense DC (Bc) has been sporadically reported to be related to liver fibrosis. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of Sb and Bc on experimental AIH in mice.

Methods

C57BL/6J mice received intraperitoneal injection of Sb and/or Bc herbal extracts (1 mg/kg) for 4 or 8 weeks. Serum samples were collected to analyse serum transferase (AST, ALT), creatinine, markers for AIH and hepatic cytokine levels such as IFN-γ, IL10 and TGF-β1. Peripheral mononuclear cell (PBMC) gene expression profiles were analysed to show their effects on immune system.

Results

Our results showed that Sb or Bc treatment increased serum AST, ALT, IgG and ANA levels. Prominent necroinflammatory changes were demonstrated in the livers of Sb- or Bc-treated mice while the decrease in IFN-γ and elevation of IL10 and TGF-β1 levels in liver tissues. Furthermore, the PMBC gene expression profile suggested that Sb or Bc treatment could modulate immune responses.

Conclusion

We conclude that the presence of AIH in Sb- or Bc-treated mice and C57BL/6J strain mice is a reliable animal model for studying herb-induced AIH-like hepatitis.