Antifibrogenic and apoptotic effects of Ocoxin in cultured rat hepatic stellate cells

Marina Ruiz de Galarreta, Elena Arriazu, María P. Pérez de Obanos, Eduardo Ansorena, María J. Iraburu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ocoxin is a nutritional supplement that has been shown to exert antioxidant and immunomodulatory responses in patients with chronic hepatitis C. The present work aimed to determine the effects of Ocoxin on activated hepatic stellate cells (HSC), the cell type mainly responsible for collagen deposition in the fibrotic liver. Ocoxin was found to reduce the survival of a cell line of immortalized non-tumoral rat HSC in a dose–response fashion and to diminish collagen type I levels. This latter effect was observed even at doses not affecting cell survival, pointing to an antifibrogenic action for the supplement. The decrease in viability exerted by Ocoxin on HSC correlated with an increase in histone-associated fragments in the cytoplasm and with increased activity of caspase-3, indicating the induction of apoptosis. To determine the molecular mechanisms mediating Ocoxin-induced apoptosis, the activation of members of the MAPK family was analyzed. Incubation of HSC with Ocoxin caused a transient and dramatic enhancement on ERK, JNK, and p38 MAPK phosphorylation levels. Using specific inhibitors for these enzymes, p38 MAPK was identified as a key mediator of the apoptotic effect of Ocoxin on HSC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)881-890
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Hepatic stellate cells
  • Liver fibrosis
  • Ocoxin
  • p38 MAPK


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