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Xanthohumol exerts protective effects in liver alterations associated with aging


Background and aims

Aging is associated with a deregulation of biological systems that lead to an increase in oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis, among other effects. Xanthohumol is the main preylated chalcone present in hops (Humulus lupulus L.) whose antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive properties have been shown in recent years. In the present study, the possible protective effects of xanthohumol on liver alterations associated with aging were evaluated.


Male young and old senescence-accelerated prone mice (SAMP8), aged 2 and 10 months, respectively, were divided into four groups: non-treated young, non-treated old, old treated with 1 mg/kg/day xanthohumol, and old treated with 5 mg/kg/day xanthohumol. Male senescence-accelerated resistant mice (SAMR1) were used as controls. After 30 days of treatment, animals were sacrificed and livers were collected. mRNA (AIF, BAD, BAX, Bcl-2, eNOS, HO-1, IL-1β, NF-κB2, PCNA, sirtuin 1 and TNF-α) and protein expressions (BAD, BAX, AIF, caspase-3, Blc-2, eNOS, iNOS, TNF-α, IL1β, NF-κB2, and IL10) were measured by RT-PCR and Western blotting, respectively. Mean values were analyzed using ANOVA.


A significant increase in mRNA and protein levels of oxidative stress, pro-inflammatory and proliferative markers, as well as pro-apoptotic parameters was shown in old non-treated SAMP8 mice compared to the young SAMP8 group and SAMR1 mice. In general, age-related oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis were significantly decreased (p < 0.05) after XN treatment. In most cases, this effect was dose-dependent.


XN was shown to modulate inflammation, apoptosis, and oxidative stress in aged livers, exerting a protective effect in hepatic alterations.

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The authors would like to thank Medicine students Paula Corral, Bryan Hyacinthe, and Mario Calvo-Soto (School of Medicine, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain) for their continued interest and cooperation in our work. The skillful technical assistance of Rocío Campón (Dept. of Physiology, School of Medicine, Complutense University of Madrid, Spain) is also gratefully acknowledged.


This study was supported by Grants from Red de Fragilidad y Envejecimiento RETICEF (RD12/0043/0032) and GRUPOS UCM-BSCH (GR35/10-A).

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Authors and Affiliations



EV, JAFT designed the research; CFG, LR, SDP, CM conducted the research; EV, MF analyzed the data; CFG, LR, SDP, EV wrote the paper. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Lisa Rancan.

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Elena Vara and Jesús A. F. Tresguerres share senior authorship.

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Fernández-García, C., Rancan, L., Paredes, S.D. et al. Xanthohumol exerts protective effects in liver alterations associated with aging. Eur J Nutr 58, 653–663 (2019).

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