Silybin regulates P450s activity by attenuating endoplasmic reticulum stress in mouse nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Jing Wu1, Yun-ge Lou1, Xu-le Yang1, Rui Wang1, Ran Zhang1, Ji-ye Aa1, Guang-ji Wang1, Yuan Xie1
1 Key Laboratory of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing 210009, China
Correspondence to: Guang-ji Wang:, Yuan Xie:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-022-00924-4
Received: 13 January 2022
Accepted: 24 May 2022
Advance online: 15 June 2022


Cytochrome P450s are important phase I metabolic enzymes located on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) involved in the metabolism of endogenous and exogenous substances. Our previous study showed that a hepatoprotective agent silybin restored CYP3A expression in mouse nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this study we investigated how silybin regulated P450s activity during NAFLD. C57BL/6 mice were fed a high-fat-diet (HFD) for 8 weeks to induce NAFLD, and were administered silybin (50, 100 mg ·kg−1 ·d−1, i.g.) in the last 4 weeks. We showed that HFD intake induced hepatic steatosis and ER stress, leading to significant inhibition on the activity of five primary P450s including CYP1A2, CYP2B6, CYP2C19, CYP2D6, and CYP3A in liver microsomes. These changes were dose-dependently reversed by silybin administration. The beneficial effects of silybin were also observed in TG-stimulated HepG2 cells in vitro. To clarify the underlying mechanism, we examined the components involved in the P450 catalytic system, membrane phospholipids and ER membrane fluidity, and found that cytochrome b5 (cyt b5) was significantly downregulated during ER stress, and ER membrane fluidity was also reduced evidenced by DPH polarization and lower polyunsaturated phospholipids levels. The increased ratios of NADP+/NADPH and PC/PE implied Ca2+ release and disruption of cellular Ca2+ homeostasis resulted from mitochondria dysfunction and cytochrome c (cyt c) release. The interaction between cyt c and cyt b5 under ER stress was an important reason for P450s activity inhibition. The effect of silybin throughout the whole course suggested that it regulated P450s activity through its anti-ER stress effect in NAFLD. Our results suggest that ER stress may be crucial for the inhibition of P450s activity in mouse NAFLD and silybin regulates P450s activity by attenuating ER stress.
Keywords: Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Silybin; P450s; ER stress; cyt b5; cyt c

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