Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha L.) bark extract regulates antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated enzyme expression via Nrf2 pathway activation in normal hepatocyte cell line

Violetta Krajka-Kuźniak, Jarosław Paluszczak, Jan Oszmiański, Wanda Baer-Dubowska
Phytotherapy Research: PTR 2014, 28 (4): 593-602
Hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha L.), a plant used in traditional medicine, is a rich source of procyanidins which have been reported to exhibit antioxidant and anti-carcinogenic activity. In this study, we assessed the effect of hawthorn bark extract (HBE) on Nrf2 pathway activation in THLE-2 and HepG2 cells. Treatment with 1.1 µg/mL, 5.5 µg/mL and 11 µg/mL of HBE resulted in the translocation of Nrf2 from the cytosol to the nucleus in both cell lines; however, the accumulation of phosphorylated Nrf2 was observed only in THLE-2. Accordingly, treatment of cells with HBE was associated with an increase in the mRNA and protein level of such Nrf2-dependent genes as glutathione S-transferases (GSTA, GSTP, GSTM, GSTT), NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) (0.2-1.1-fold change, p < 0.05), however, only in normal THLE-2 hepatocytes. The induction of NQO1 correlated with an increased level of p53 (0.21-0.42-fold change, p < 0.05). These effects may be related to induction of phosphorylation of upstream ERK and JNK kinases. Collectively, the results suggest that the Nrf2/ARE pathway may play an important role in the regulation of procyanidin-mediated antioxidant/detoxifying effects in hepatocytes, and this may explain the hepatoprotective and chemopreventive properties of these phytochemicals.

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