Oridonin inhibits hepatic stellate cell proliferation and fibrogenesis

Fredrick J. Bohanon, Xiaofu Wang, Chunyong Ding, Ye Ding, Geetha L. Radhakrishnan, Cristiana Rastellini, Jia Zhou, Ravi S. Radhakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Background Liver fibrosis is a common response to liver injury and, in severe cases, leads to cirrhosis. The hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) become activated after liver injury and play a significant role in fibrogenesis. The activated HSC is characterized by increased proliferation, overexpression of α smooth muscle actin, and excessive production of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins. Oridonin, a naturally occurring diterpenoid, has been shown to induce apoptosis in liver and gastric cancer cells. However, its effects on the HSC are unknown. Methods We tested the effects of oridonin on the activated human and rat HSC lines LX-2 and HSC-T6, and the human hepatocyte cell line C3A. Transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1) was used to stimulate LX-2 cells. Results Oridonin significantly inhibited LX-2 and HSC-T6 proliferation. In contrast, oridonin had no antiproliferative effect on C3A cells at our tested range. Oridonin induced apoptosis and S-phase arrest in LX-2 cells. These findings were associated with an increase in p53, p21, p16, and cleaved Poly (ADP-ribose) Polymerase (PARP), and with a decrease in Cyclin-dependent kinase 4 (Cdk4). Oridonin markedly decreased expression of α smooth muscle actin and ECM protein type I collagen and fibronectin, blocked TGF-β1-induced Smad2/3 phosphorylation and type I collagen expression. Conclusions Oridonin induces apoptosis and cell cycle arrest involving the p53-p21 pathway in HSC and appears to be nontoxic to hepatocytes. In addition, oridonin suppressed endogenous and TGF-β1-induced ECM proteins. Thus, oridonin may act as a novel agent to prevent hepatic fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-63
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Surgical Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014


  • Apoptosis
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Oridonin
  • Stellate cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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