Experimental biology and medicine (Maywood, N.J.)

Zinc supplementation suppresses the progression of bile duct ligation-induced liver fibrosis in mice.

PMID 25432983


Metallothionein (MT) gene therapy leads to resolution of liver fibrosis in mouse model, in which the activation of collagenases is involved in the regression of liver fibrosis. MT plays a critical role in zinc sequestration in the liver suggesting its therapeutic effect would be mediated by zinc. The present study was undertaken to test the hypothesis that zinc supplementation suppresses liver fibrosis. Male Kunming mice subjected to bile duct ligation (BDL) resulted in liver fibrosis as assessed by increased α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and collagen I production/deposition in the liver. Zinc supplementation was introduced 4 weeks after BDL surgery via intragastric administration once daily for 2 weeks resulting in a significant reduction in the collagen deposition in the liver and an increase in the survival rate. Furthermore, zinc suppressed gene expression of α-SMA and collagen I and enhanced the capacity of collagen degradation, as determined by the increased activity of total collagenases and elevated mRNA and protein levels of MMP13. Therefore, the results demonstrate that zinc supplementation suppresses BDL-induced liver fibrosis through both inhibiting collagen production and enhancing collagen degradation.