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Pine Pollen Extract For Liver Health

Anti-Fibrotic Effects of Masson Pine Pollen Aqueous Extract on Hepatic Fibrosis Rat Model

Authors: Tao Cong, Xue-Yuan Jin, Lin Zhao, Long Ma, Rui-Sheng Li, Ping Zhao, Chang-Jiang Guo

Hepatic fibrosis, a response to chronic liver injury, is characterized by excessive deposition of extracellular matrix components. This study investigates the anti-fibrotic effects of Masson Pine Pollen aqueous extract (MPPAE) on a hepatic fibrosis rat model induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4).

Objective

To observe the anti-fibrotic effects of Masson Pine Pollen aqueous extract (MPPAE) on a hepatic fibrosis rat model.

Methodology

Study Design

  • Rats were divided into five groups: control (CG), hepatic fibrosis model (MG), MPPAE low dose (LG), MPPAE high dose (HG), and Masson Pine Pollen original powder (MPPOP) group (OG).
  • All groups were treated according to specific protocols and sacrificed after 8 weeks.

Treatments

  • CG Group: Received saline solution.
  • MG Group: Received 40% CCl4 for hepatic fibrosis induction.
  • LG Group: Received 40% CCl4 and MPPAE at 20 mg/mL.
  • HG Group: Received 40% CCl4 and MPPAE at 100 mg/mL.
  • OG Group: Received 40% CCl4 and MPPOP in double-distilled water at 100 mg/mL.

Tests Conducted

  • Measurement of liver index and serum transaminases (AST, ALT, ALP).
  • Histopathological examination and immunohistochemical staining of liver tissues.
  • Determination of hydroxyproline (Hyp) content in liver tissues.
  • Assessment of antioxidant enzymes and peroxide products in liver tissues.
  • Measurement of MMP and TIMP expressions.
  • Real-time PCR for analyzing gene expression in liver tissues.

Results

Impact on Weight, Liver Weight, and Liver Index

  • Control Group (CG): Normal liver structure, low-density collagen around blood vessels.
  • Model Group (MG): Severe fibrosis, ballooning degeneration, collagen fiber hyperplasia.
  • LG and HG Groups: Significant amelioration of hepatic conditions, reduced fibrosis.

Impact on Serum Biochemical Parameters

  • Significant increase in AST and ALT in the MG group compared to CG.
  • MPPAE treatment reduced ALT and AST levels significantly.

Histopathological Examination

  • Control Group: Normal liver structure.
  • Model Group: Severe hepatic fibrosis, collagen bridging.
  • Treatment Groups (LG, HG, OG): Reduced fibrosis, nearly normal hepatic cords.

Oxidative Stress and Antioxidant Enzymes

  • MPPAE treatment significantly increased SOD activity and reduced MDA and 8-OH-dG levels.
  • Enhanced GSH-Px activity in MPPAE treated groups.

Gene Expression

  • MPPAE downregulated the mRNA expression of TGF-β1, NF-κB p65, α-SMA, and PDGF in a dose-dependent manner.

Collagen Protein Content

  • MPPAE treatment reduced collagen content significantly.

Research Significance

This study demonstrates that MPPAE has significant anti-fibrotic effects on hepatic fibrosis induced by CCl4 in rats. The extract's efficacy is attributed to its ability to enhance antioxidant defense, inhibit HSC activation, regulate cytokine expression, and promote ECM degradation. These findings suggest MPPAE as a potential therapeutic agent for managing hepatic fibrosis.

Conclusion

Masson Pine Pollen aqueous extract (MPPAE) shows promising anti-fibrotic effects in hepatic fibrosis rat models. By enhancing antioxidant defenses, inhibiting hepatic stellate cell proliferation, and regulating collagen synthesis, MPPAE offers a potential natural intervention for hepatic fibrosis.

Citation

Tao, C., Jin, X.-Y., Zhao, L., Ma, L., Li, R.-S., Zhao, P., & Guo, C.-J. (2015). Anti-fibrotic effects of the Masson pine pollen aqueous extract on hepatic fibrosis rat model. International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology, 8(5), 4651-4661. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4503027/.