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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 985257, 13 pages
Research Article

Targeted Metabolomics of Serum Acylcarnitines Evaluates Hepatoprotective Effect of Wuzhi Tablet (Schisandra sphenanthera Extract) against Acute Acetaminophen Toxicity

1School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Sun Yat-sen University, 132 Waihuandong Road, University City, Guangzhou 510006, China
2Laboratory of Metabolism, Center for Cancer Research, National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
3Center for Metabolomics and Mass Spectrometry, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA

Received 12 November 2012; Revised 19 December 2012; Accepted 27 December 2012

Academic Editor: Adair Roberto Soares Santos

Copyright © 2013 Huichang Bi 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.


Possible prevention and therapeutic intervention strategies to counteract acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity would be of great value. Wuzhi tablet (WZ, extract of Schisandrae sphenanthera) possesses hepatoprotective effects against hepatitis and the hepatic dysfunction induced by various chemical hepatotoxins. In this study, the protective effect of WZ on APAP-induced hepatic injury was evaluated and targeted metabolomics by LC-MS-based metabolomics was used to examine whether WZ influences hepatic metabolism. The results demonstrated significant hepatoprotection of WZ against APAP-induced liver injury; pretreatment with WZ prior to APAP administration blocks the increase in serum palmitoylcarnitine and oleoylcarnitine and thus restores the APAP-impaired fatty acid β-oxidation to normal levels. These studies further revealed a significant and prolonged upregulation of the PPARα target genes Cpt1 and Acot1 by WZ mainly contributing to the maintenance of normal fatty acid metabolism and thus potentially contributing to the hepatic protection of WZ against APAP-induced hepatic toxicity. Taken together, the current study provides new insights into understanding the hepatoprotective effect of WZ against APAP-induced liver toxicity.