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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011, Article ID 459531, 8 pages
Research Article

A Chinese Herbal Decoction, Modified Yi Guan Jian, Induces Apoptosis in Hepatic Stellate Cells through an ROS-Mediated Mitochondrial/Caspase Pathway

1School of Chinese Medicine, College of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan
2Department of Medical Biotechnology and Laboratory Science, Chang Gung University, Taoyuan 333, Taiwan
3Department of Medical Laboratory Science and Biotechnology, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan
4Department of Life Sciences, National Chung Hsing University, Taichung 402, Taiwan

Received 9 April 2010; Revised 12 August 2010; Accepted 16 August 2010

Copyright © 2011 Hung-Jen Lin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The Chinese herb modified Yi Guan Jian (mYGJ) is an effective regimen that is usually used in outpatients with chronic liver diseases such as fibrosis and cirrhosis. However, the mechanism for the action of mYGJ on liver fibrosis is not yet clear. In this study, we found that mYGJ induced hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) apoptosis concomitant with the downregulation of Bcl-2 expression and slight elevation of Bax level. Moreover, the reactive oxygen species (ROS) were generated in the early stages of mYGJ-induced HSCs apoptosis to facilitate calcium and cytochrome c release from the mitochondria to cytosol. Subsequently, caspase 9 and caspase 3 were activated. Furthermore, the activation of ER stress-associated caspase 12 in HSCs was also evaluated. Together, we report the first evidence-based study to demonstrate that mYGJ decoction induces HSCs apoptosis through ROS accumulation and the intrinsic apoptosis pathway. These findings provide rationale for further clinical investigation of traditional Chinese medicine recipes against liver fibrosis.