Hepatoprotective effect of capsaicin against concanavalin A-induced hepatic injury via inhibiting oxidative stress and inflammation

Hui Zhang, Yang Bai, Min Gao, Junfeng Zhang, Guanjun Dong, Fenglian Yan, Qun Ma, Xingqin Fu, Qingqing Zhang, Chunxia Li, Hui Shi, Zhaochen Ning, Jun Dai, Zhihua Li, Jiankuo Ming, Qingjie Xue, Chuanping Si, Huabao Xiong

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24 Scopus citations


Immune-mediated liver injury plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of liver diseases, which can result from viral infections, autoimmunity, alcohol intake, and drug use. Concanavalin A (Con A)-induced hepatitis is a well-characterized murine model with similar pathophysiology to that of human viral and autoimmune hepatitis. Capsaicin, a selective agonist of the transient potential vanilloid subfamily member 1 (TRPV1) receptor, exhibits anti-inflammatory effects on various causes of inflammation. In the present study, we investigated the effect of capsaicin on Con A-induced hepatitis. Capsaicin (1 mg/kg body weight) was administered by intraperitoneal injection, after which (30 minutes), the mice were challenged intravenously with Con A (20 μg/g body weight). We collected serum for plasma transaminase analysis. Pro-inflammatory cytokine levels and hepatocyte apoptosis were assayed by ELISA and TUNEL, respectively. Liver samples were collected for real-time PCR, hematoxylin and eosin staining, and measuring oxidative stress and myeloperoxidase levels. Activation of splenocytes and hepatic mononuclear cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. Compared with control, the capsaicin-treated group showed significantly decreased aminotransferase levels and markedly prolonged mouse survival. Capsaicin pretreatment also attenuated hepatocyte apoptosis and oxidative stress. Furthermore, tumor necrosis factor-α and interferon-γ levels in serum and liver were significantly suppressed, while the percentage of myeloid-derived suppressor cells increased after capsaicin pretreatment. Our findings indicate that capsaicin pretreatment protects mice from Con A-induced hepatic damage and is partially involved in inhibiting hepatocyte apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammatory mediators as well as regulating activation and recruitment of intrahepatic leukocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberAJTR0091231
Pages (from-to)3029-3038
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Translational Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2019


  • Capsaicin
  • Concanavalin A
  • Hepatitis
  • Inflammation
  • Oxidative stres


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