N-n-Butyl haloperidol iodide (F2) is a novel compound that has antiproliferative and antifibrogenic activities. In this study we investigated the therapeutic potential of F2 against liver fibrosis in mice and the underlying mechanisms. Two widely used mouse models of fibrosis was established in mice by injection of either carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) or thioacetamide (TAA). The mice received F2 (0.75, 1.5 or 3 mg·kg−1·d−1, ip) for 4 weeks of fibrosis induction. We showed that F2 administration dose-dependently ameliorated CCl4- or TAA-induced liver fibrosis, evidenced by significant decreases in collagen deposition and c-Jun, TGF-β receptor II (TGFBR2), α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and collagen I expression in the liver. In transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1)-stimulated LX-2 cells (a human hepatic stellate cell line) and primary mouse hepatic stellate cells, treatment with F2 (0.1, 1, 10 μM) concentration-dependently inhibited the expression of α-SMA, and collagen I. In LX-2 cells, F2 inhibited TGF-β/Smad signaling through reducing the levels of TGFBR2; pretreatment with LY2109761 (TGF-β signaling inhibitor) or SP600125 (c-Jun signaling inhibitor) markedly inhibited TGF-β1-induced induction of α-SMA and collagen I. Knockdown of c-Jun decreased TGF-β signaling genes, including TGFBR2 levels. We revealed that c-Jun was bound to the TGFBR2 promoter, whereas F2 suppressed the binding of c-Jun to the TGFBR2 promoter to restrain TGF-β signaling and inhibit α-SMA and collagen I upregulation. In conclusion, the therapeutic benefit of F2 against liver fibrosis results from inhibition of c-Jun expression to reduce TGFBR2 and concomitant reduction of the responsiveness of hepatic stellate cells to TGF-β1. F2 may thus be a potentially new effective pharmacotherapy for human liver fibrosis.
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This work was supported by the Research Team Project of the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province of China (No. 9351503102000001). The authors thank the Pharmacological Department and Shantou University Medical College for providing the platform for our research.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Shen, Df., Cheng, H., Cai, Bz. et al. N-n-Butyl haloperidol iodide ameliorates liver fibrosis and hepatic stellate cell activation in mice. Acta Pharmacol Sin (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41401-021-00630-7
- liver fibrosis
- N-n-butyl haloperidol iodide
- TGF-β signaling
- human hepatic stellate cell line LX-2