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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016, Article ID 4690857, 17 pages
Research Article

S-Propargyl-cysteine Exerts a Novel Protective Effect on Methionine and Choline Deficient Diet-Induced Fatty Liver via Akt/Nrf2/HO-1 Pathway

1Shanghai Key Laboratory of Bioactive Small Molecules and Research Center on Aging and Medicine, Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Shanghai Medical College, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, China
2Department of Pharmacology, School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 201203, China
3Department of Pharmacy, Linyi People’s Hospital, Linyi 276000, China
4Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore 119077

Received 18 January 2016; Revised 23 March 2016; Accepted 4 May 2016

Academic Editor: Javier Egea

Copyright © 2016 Wenwen Li 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.


This study investigated the antioxidative effect of S-propargyl-cysteine (SPRC) on nonalcoholic fatty liver (NAFLD) by treating mice fed a methionine and choline deficient (MCD) diet with SPRC for four weeks. We found that SPRC significantly reduced hepatic reactive oxygen species (ROS) and methane dicarboxylic aldehyde (MDA) levels. Moreover, SPRC also increased the superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity. By Western blot, we found that this protective effect of SPRC was importantly attributed to the regulated hepatic antioxidant-related proteins, including protein kinase B (Akt), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), and cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE, an enzyme that synthesizes hydrogen sulfide). Next, we examined the detailed molecular mechanism of the SPRC protective effect using oleic acid- (OA-) induced HepG2 cells. The results showed that SPRC significantly decreased intracellular ROS and MDA levels in OA-induced HepG2 cells by upregulating the phosphorylation of Akt, the expression of HO-1 and CSE, and the translocation of Nrf2. SPRC-induced HO-1 expression and Nrf2 translocation were abolished by the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor LY294002. Moreover, the antioxidative effect of SPRC was abolished by CSE inhibitor DL-propargylglycine (PAG) and HO-1 siRNA. Therefore, these results proved that SPRC produced an antioxidative effect on NAFLD through the PI3K/Akt/Nrf2/HO-1 signaling pathway.