IJMS, Vol. 20, Pages 4082: Pachypodol, a Methoxyflavonoid Isolated from Pogostemon cablin Bentham Exerts Antioxidant and Cytoprotective Effects in HepG2 Cells: Possible Role of ERK-Dependent Nrf2 Activation (International Journal of Molecular Sciences)
Oxidative stress has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases including chronic liver diseases. Nrf2 is a master transcriptional factor regulating the induction of cellular antioxidant defense systems. Here, the Nrf2-activating effect of the crude methanol extract of dried leaves of Pogostemon cablin Bentham was demonstrated by measuring the antioxidant response element (ARE)-driven luciferase activity and pachypodol, 4′,5-dihydroxy-3,3′,7-trimethoxyflavone, was isolated by bioactivity-guided fractionation and further separation using chromatographic techniques. To our knowledge, this is the first study to evaluate the antioxidant and cytoprotective effects of pachypodol in HepG2 cells as well as the underlying molecular mechanisms. Indeed, pachypodol protected HepG2 cells from cell death caused by tert-butylhydroperoxide-induced oxidative stress and also attenuated ROS production. The ability of pachypodol to activate Nrf2/ARE pathway was further confirmed by observing Nrf2 expression in nuclear fraction, mRNA levels of Nrf2 target antioxidants, and cellular glutathione content in HepG2 cells. Extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) is one of the important kinases involved in Nrf2 activation. Pachypodol increased ERK phosphorylation and ERK inhibition by PD98059 totally abrogated the increase in ARE luciferase activity, nuclear Nrf2 accumulation and mRNA levels of antioxidant enzymes by pachypodol. In conclusion, pachypodol isolated from P. cablin can protect hepatocytes from oxidative injury, possibly mediated by enhancing endogenous antioxidant defense system through ERK-dependent Nrf2 activation.