The Protective Effect of Taurine Against Hepatic Damage in a Model of Liver Disease and Hepatic Stellate Cells

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Abstract

Taurine plays a protective role against free radicals and toxins in various cells and tissues. However, the effect of taurine on hepatic injury and fibrosis developed by activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and myofibroblast-like cells is not fully understood. We investigated the effects of taurine on the hepatic fibrogenesis and damage in rats and isolated HSC. Rats were divided into a normal and two CCl4-induced liver damage (LD) groups, one untreated and the other maintained for 5 weeks on a 2% taurine diet. The HSC isolated from a normal rat were cultured either for a day only or for an additional 3–6 days with ~50 mM taurine. LD rats maintained on the taurine diet were resistant to CCl4-induced loss of taurine from the liver. The liver of the LD rats were also protected against histological damage, fibrosis, significant reductions in oxidative stress markers (LPO and 8-OHdG) and hepatic fibrogenic factors (TGF-β1 mRNA, hydroxyproline, α-SMA). Proliferation, oxidative stress, and fibrogenesis were significantly inhibited in HSC by treatment with taurine. Thus, supplementation with taurine should be considered as a therapeutic approach to lessen the severity of oxidative stress-induced liver injury and hepatic fibrosis.