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Journal of Chinese Integrative Medicine ›› 2009, Vol. 7 ›› Issue (6): 546-551.doi: 10.3736/jcim20090610

• Original Experimental Research • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of Qushi Huayu Decoction in prevention and treatment of fatty liver in rats based on adiponection-free fatty acid pathway

Hong-shan Lia,b,Qin Fenga,Li-li Xua,Shao-dong Chena,Xue-mei Lia,Yi-yang Hua   

  1. a Institute of Liver Diseases of Shuguang Hospital, Key Laboratory for Liver-Kidney Disease Pattern of Ministry of Education, E-institute of Shanghai Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
    b Department of Hepatitis, Ningbo Infectious Disease Hospital, Ningbo 315000, Zhejiang Province, China
  • Received:2008-12-23 Accepted:2009-02-25 Online:2009-06-20 Published:2009-06-15


To explore the effects of Qushi Huayu Decoction (QSHYD), a compound traditional Chinese herbal medicine, in prevention and treatment of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in rats.

Forty Wistar male rats were used to establish the NAFLD model by subcutaneous injection of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) for 4 weeks (twice weekly) along with high-fat and low-protein diet for 2 weeks. After two-week administration, the rats were randomly divided into four groups: untreated group, high-dose QSHYD group, medium-dose QSHYD group and low-dose QSHYD group. Another six rats were used as normal control. After 2-week treatment, the following indexes were detected: (1) liver pathology; (2) contents of serum adiponectin (ADP) and liver triglyceride (TG); (3) concentrations of liver FFA, adiponectin receptor 2 (AdipoR2), malonyl-coenzyme A (malony1-CoA), AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACCase), fatty acid synthase (FAS) and carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 (CPT-1).

Compared with the normal group, there were physiological changes associated with hepatic steatosis and inflammation in liver tissues in the untreated group as observed by oil red O staining and HE staining. The TG, FFA, malony1-CoA, FAS, and ACCase concentrations in liver tissues in the untreated group were elevated significantly. While the contents of ADP in serum and AdipoR2, CPT-1 and AMPK in liver tissues in the untreated group were decreased markedly. The pathological damages in each QSHYD-treated group were significantly less than those in the untreated group. The TG and FFA contents in liver tissues in each QSHYD-treated group were significantly decreased. The FAS, ACCase and malonyl-CoA concentrations in liver tissues of the high QSHYD-treated group were reduced markedly as compared with the untreated group. High- and medium-dose of QSHYD could significantly increase ADP content in serum and AMPK, CPT-1 and AdipoR2 contents in liver tissues.

QSHYD can affect the ADP-FFA pathway by increasing the content of serum ADP, which may be one of its important mechanisms in preventing and treating NAFLD in rats.

Key words: Fatty liver, Free fatty acid, Adiponectin, AMP-activated protein kinase, Qushi Huayu Decoction, Rats

Table 1

Contents of TG and FFA in liver tissues of rats in different groups (x±s)"

Group n TG (mg/g) FFA (μmol/g)
Normal 6 8.7±2.6** 56.7±5.6**
Untreated 10 33.2±9.7 202.7±54.2
Low-dose QSHYD 8 22.7±5.8** 117.5±17.9**
Medium-dose QSHYD 9 19.9±3.7** 115.8±24.6**
High-dose QSHYD 10 19.6±4.0** 100.8±22.4**

Figure 1

Pathological changes in liver tissues of rats in different groups observed by light microscopy with HE staining (×200) A: Normal group; B: Untreated group; C: High-dose QSHYD group; D: Medium-dose QSHYD group; E: Low-dose QSHYD group."

Table 2

Fatty degeneration in liver tissues of rats in different groups observed by HE staining (Cases)"

Group n Number of rats with different degrees of hepatic steatosis
F0 F1 F2 F3 F4
Normal 6 6 0 0 0 0
Untreated 10 0 0 2 7 1
Low-dose group QSHYD 8 0 2 4 2 0
Medium-dose QSHYD 9 0 2 6 1 0
High-dose group QSHYD 10 0 3 5 2 0
Ridit score 0.069 8 0.220 9 0.441 9 0.779 1 0.988 4

Figure 2

Pathological changes in liver tissues of rats in different groups observed by light microscopy with oil red O staining (×400) A: Normal group; B: Untreated group; C: High-dose QSHYD group; D: Medium-dose QSHYD group; E: Low-dose QSHYD group."

Table 3

Contents of ADP in serum and AdipoR2 in liver tissues of rats in different groups (x±s)"

Group n ADP (μg/mL) AdipoR2 (ng/g)
Normal 6 25.7±3.8** 4 474±246**
Untreated 10 14.3±3.8 3 205±665
Low-dose QSHYD 8 17.7±5.1△△ 3 960±380**
Medium-dose QSHYD 9 20.1±5.4* 3 940±341**
High-dose QSHYD 10 23.9±4.5** 4 052±353**

Table 4

Contents of AMPK, ACCase and malonyl-CoA in liver tissues of rats in different groups (x±s)"

Group n AMPK (ng/g) ACCase (μg/g) Malony1-CoA (μg/g)
Normal 6 418±26** 19±8** 270±30**
Untreated 10 219±78 79±31 511±88
Low-dose QSHYD 8 311±72* 64±29 421±97**
Medium-dose QSHYD 9 379±95** 60±18 409±43**
High-dose QSHYD 10 394±83** 39±19** 347±52**

Table 5

Contents of FAS and CPT-1 in liver tissues of rats in different groups (x±s, μg/g)"

Group n FAS CPT-1
Normal 6 83±9** 2 119±199**
Untreated 10 152±29 1 480±275
Low-dose QSHYD 8 130±15 1 642±187
Medium-dose QSHYD 9 125±22* 1 679±173*
High-dose QSHYD 10 107±10** 1 716±171*
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