Scoparone potentiates transactivation of the bile salt export pump gene and this effect is enhanced by cytochrome P450 metabolism but abolished by a PKC inhibitor

Document Type


Date of Original Version



Background and Purpose Hyperbilirubinaemia and cholestasis are two major forms of liver abnormality. The Chinese herb Yin Chin has been used for thousands of years to treat liver dysfunctions. In mice, this herb and its principal ingredient scoparone were found to accelerate the clearance of bilirubin accompanied by the induction of uridine diphosphate-5′- glucuronosyltransferase-1A1 (UGT1A1), a bilirubin processing enzyme. The aim of this study was to determine whether scoparone induces the expression of human UGT1A1. In addition, the expression of the bile salt export pump (BSEP), a transporter of bile acids, was determined. Experimental Approach Primary human hepatocytes and hepatoma line Huh7 were treated with scoparone, chenodeoxycholic acid (CDCA) or both. The expression of UGT1A1 and BSEP mRNA was determined. The activation of the human BSEP promoter reporter by scoparone was determined in Huh7 cells by transient transfection and in mice by bioluminescent imaging. The metabolism of scoparone was investigated by recombinant CYP enzymes and pooled human liver microsomes. Key Results Scoparone did not enhance the expression of either human BSEP or, surprisingly, UGT1A1. However, scoparone significantly potentiated the expression of BSEP induced by CDCA. Consistent with this, scoparone potentiated the stimulant effect of CDCA on the human BSEP promoter. This potentiation was enhanced by co-transfection of cytochrome P4501A2 but abolished by the PKC inhibitor GF109203X. ConclusionS and Implications Scoparone and Yin Chin normalize liver function primarily by enhancing the secretion of bile acids, and this effect probably varies depending on the metabolic rate of scoparone. © 2011 The British Pharmacological Society.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

British Journal of Pharmacology