Silybin counteracts lipid excess and oxidative stress in cultured steatotic hepatic cells

Giulia Vecchione, Elena Grasselli, Adriana Voci, Francesca Baldini, Ignazio Grattagliano, David Qh Wang, Piero Portincasa, Laura Vergani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


AIM: To investigate in vitro the therapeutic effect and mechanisms of silybin in a cellular model of hepatic steatosis. METHODS: Rat hepatoma FaO cells were loaded with lipids by exposure to 0.75 mmol/L oleate/palmitate for 3 h to mimic liver steatosis. Then, the steatotic cells were incubated for 24 h with different concentrations (25 to 100 mol/L) of silybin as phytosome complex with Vitamin E. The effects of silybin on lipid accumulation and metabolism, and on indices of oxidative stress were evaluated by absorption and fluorescence microscopy, quantitative real-time PCR, Western blot, spectrophotometric and fluorimetric assays. RESULTS: Lipid-loading resulted in intracellular triglyceride (TG) accumulation inside lipid droplets, whose number and size increased. TG accumulation was mediated by increased levels of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) and sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c). The lipid imbalance was associated with higher production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) resulting in increased lipid peroxidation, stimulation of catalase activity and activation of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-B). Incubation of steatotic cells with silybin 50 mol/L significantly reduced TG accumulation likely by promoting lipid catabolism and by inhibiting lipogenic pathways, as suggested by the changes in carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT-1), PPAR and SREBP-1c levels. The reduction in fat accumulation exerted by silybin in the steatotic cells was associated with the improvement of the oxidative imbalance caused by lipid excess as demonstrated by the reduction in ROS content, lipid peroxidation, catalase activity and NF-B activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6016-6026
Number of pages11
JournalWorld Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number26
StatePublished - Jul 14 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Lipid droplets
  • Lipid metabolism
  • Mitochondrial oxidation
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Oxidative stress
  • Silybin
  • Steatotic hepatocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


Dive into the research topics of 'Silybin counteracts lipid excess and oxidative stress in cultured steatotic hepatic cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this