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Front. Physiol. | doi: 10.3389/fphys.2019.00494

Tangshen formula alleviates hepatic steatosis by inducing autophagy through the AMPK/SIRT1 pathway

  • 1Peking Union Medical College Graduate School, China
  • 2Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, China
  • 3Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, China
  • 4Department of Chemical Engineering, Tsinghua University, China

Tangshen formula (TSF), a formula of Chinese herbal medicine, improves lipid metabolism in humans and animals with diabetic kidney disease. However, the effect and mechanism of TSF on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) remain unclear. The activation of autophagy appears to be a potential mechanism for improving NAFLD. In the present study, we examined the therapeutic effect of TSF on hepatic steatosis and sought to explore whether its effect is related to activating autophagy. Here, we showed that TSF treatment significantly attenuated hepatic steatosis in both high-fat diet- and methionine choline-deficient diet-fed mice. Meanwhile, TSF reduced lipid accumulation in palmitate (PA)-stimulated HepG2 cells and primary mouse hepatocytes. Furthermore, TSF increased Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) expression and promoted autophagy activation in vivo. TSF also improved PA-induced suppression of both SIRT1 expression and SIRT1-dependent autophagy, thereby alleviating intracellular lipid accumulation in vitro. In addition, TSF increased SIRT1 expression and induced autophagy in an adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent manner. Moreover, SIRT1 knockdown abolished the autophagy-inducing and lipid-lowering effects of TSF. In conclusion, TSF improved lipid accumulation and hepatic steatosis by inducing the AMPK/SIRT1 pathway-mediated autophagy.

Keywords: Tangshen Formula, Fatty Liver, AMPK, SIRT1, Autophagy

Received: 29 Dec 2018; Accepted: 08 Apr 2019.

Edited by:

Lacolley Patrick, Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), France

Reviewed by:

Douglas Mashek, University of Minnesota Twin Cities, United States
Hsien-Hui Chung, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan  

Copyright: © 2019 Wang, Zhao, Li, Li, Wang, Liu, Liang, Shao, Zhang, Zhao, Peng and Li. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence:
Prof. Liang Peng, Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China,
Prof. Ping Li, Institute of Clinical Medical Sciences, China-Japan Friendship Hospital, Beijing, China,