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Total flavone of Abelmoschus manihot regulates autophagy through the AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway to treat intestinal fibrosis in Crohn's disease.

BACKGROUND AND AIM: Drug therapy is the treatment of choice for Crohn's disease because it effectively controls or prevents intestinal inflammation. The purpose was to research the molecular mechanism of the total flavones of Abelmoschus manihot (TFA) on intestinal fibrosis in Crohn's disease.

METHODS: A 2,4,6-Trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis model and IGF-1-treated intestinal fibroblasts were established. Then, TFA, 3-MA, and compound C were used treatments. Hematoxylin and eosin, Masson, and Picrosirius red staining were performed to observe the colon tissue. Immunohistochemical staining was used to detect α-SMA expression. Flow cytometry, CCK8, wound healing, and Transwell assays were conducted to determine apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, and migration. Col1a1 and Col3a1 levels were detected using quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Proteins related to autophagy and apoptosis were detected using western blotting.

RESULTS: TFA treated intestinal fibrosis in chronic Crohn's disease. Colon length was the shortest in the ethanol + TNBS group, and TFA treatment significantly improved the situation. Intestinal fibrosis and the percentage of collagen area decreased after TFA treatment. TFA reduced fibrosis by enhancing autophagy stimulation, whereas an autophagy inhibitor reversed the TFA effect. TFA also inhibited migration, proliferation, and collagen synthesis in intestinal fibroblasts. Moreover, it enhanced autophagy and apoptosis of intestinal fibroblasts. TFA upregulated p-AMPK expression and decreases p-mTOR levels. Compound C partially rescued the effect of TFA, indicating that TFA affected intestinal fibroblasts via the AMPK/mTOR pathway in vitro and in vivo. TFA also downregulated Col1a1 and Col3a1 expression.

CONCLUSION: TFA regulates autophagy through AMPK/mTOR signaling pathway to treat intestinal fibrosis, which may provide a new therapy for Crohn's disease treatment.

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