Ginsenoside Rb1 alleviates colitis in mice via activation of endoplasmic reticulum-resident E3 ubiquitin ligase Hrd1 signaling pathway

Jian-yi Dong1, Kai-jun Xia1, Wei Liang1, Lu-lu Liu2, Fang Yang1, Xue-sheng Fang1, Yong-jian Xiong3, Liang Wang1, Zi-juan Zhou1, Chang-yi Li1, Wei-dong Zhang1, Jing-yu Wang4, Da-peng Chen1
1 Compartive Medicine, Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116044, China
2 Physiology, Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116044, China
3 Central Laboratory, First Affiliated Hospital of Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116044, China
4 Laboratory Animal Center, Dalian Medical University, Dalian 116044, China
Correspondence to: Jing-yu Wang:, Da-peng Chen:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-020-00561-9
Received: 8 June 2020
Accepted: 19 October 2020
Advance online: 2 December 2020


Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) homeostasis is regulated by ER-resident E3 ubiquitin ligase Hrd1, which has been implicated in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Ginsenoside Rb1 (GRb1) is the major ginsenoside in ginseng with multiple pharmacological activities. In this study we investigated the role of Hrd1 in IBD and its regulation by GRb1. Two mouse colitis models were established to mimic human IBD: drinking water containing dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) as well as intra-colonic infusion of 2, 4, 6- trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS). Colitis mice were treated with GRb1 (20, 40 mg·kg−1·d−1, ig) or a positive control drug sulfasalazine (500 mg·kg−1·d−1, ig) for 7 days. The model mice showed typical colitis symptoms and pathological changes in colon tissue. In addition to significant inflammatory responses and cell apoptosis in colon tissue, colon epithelial expression of Hrd1 was significantly decreased, the expression of ER stress markers GRP78, PERK, CHOP, and caspase 12 was increased, and the expression of Fas was increased (Fas was removed by Hrd1-induced ubiquitination). These changes were partially, or completely, reversed by GRb1 administration, whereas injection of Hrd1 inhibitor LS102 (50 mg·kg−1· d−1, ip, for 6 days) exacerbated colitis symptoms in colitis mice. GRb1 administration not only normalized Hrd1 expression at both the mRNA and protein levels, but also alleviated the ER stress response, Fas-related apoptosis, and other colitis symptoms. In intestinal cell line IEC-6, the expression of Hrd1 was significantly decreased by LPS treatment, but was normalized by GRb1 (200 μM). GRb1 alleviated LPS-induced ER stress and cell apoptosis in IEC-6 cells, and GRb1 action was inhibited by knockdown of Hrd1 using small interfering RNA. In summary, these results reveal a pathological role of Hrd1 in colitis, and provide a novel insight into alternative treatment of colitis using GRb1 activating Hrd1 signaling pathway.
Keywords: inflammatory bowel disease; Hrd1; ER stress; Fas; apoptosis; ginsenoside Rb1; sulfasalazine; DSS; TNBS; epithelium

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