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Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 6171658, 13 pages
Review Article

Schisandrin B: A Double-Edged Sword in Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Division of Life Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong

Received 21 July 2016; Revised 13 September 2016; Accepted 28 September 2016

Academic Editor: Pablo Muriel

Copyright © 2016 Pou Kuan Leong and Kam Ming Ko. 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.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a spectrum of liver lesions ranging from hepatic steatosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, hepatic cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The high global prevalence of NAFLD has underlined the important public health implications of this disease. The pathogenesis of NAFLD involves the abnormal accumulation of free fatty acids, oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, and a proinflammatory state in the liver. Schisandrin B (Sch B), an active dibenzooctadiene lignan isolated from the fruit of Schisandra chinensis (a traditional Chinese herb), was found to possess antihyperlipidemic, antioxidant, anti-ER stress, and anti-inflammatory activities in cultured hepatocytes in vitro and in rodent livers in vivo. Whereas a long-term, low dose regimen of Sch B induces an antihyperlipidemic response in obese mice fed a high fat diet, a single bolus high dose of Sch B increases serum/hepatic lipid levels in mice. This differential action of Sch B is likely related to a dose/time-dependent biphasic response on lipid metabolism in mice. The hepatoprotection afforded by Sch B against oxidative stress, ER stress, and inflammation has been widely reported. The ensemble of results suggests that Sch B may offer potential as a therapeutic agent for NAFLD. The optimal dose and duration of Sch B treatment need to be established in order to ensure maximal efficacy and safety when used in humans.