Cardamonin Reduces Acetaminophen-Induced Acute Liver Injury in Mice via Activating Autophagy and NFE2L2 Signaling

Qiushi Xu, Yunhui Fan, Juan J. Loor, Yusheng Liang, Xudong Sun, Hongdou Jia, Chenxu Zhao, Chuang Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cardamonin (CD), a naturally occurring chalcone derived from the Alpinia species, has been shown to exert antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity, but its role in the prevention of acetaminophen- (APAP-) induced hepatotoxicity remains elusive. The objective of this study was to determine the protective effects of CD against APAP-induced acute liver injury (ALI) and the underlying mechanisms. Wild-type or transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2- (NFE2L2-) deficient mice were treated with CD (50 or 100 mg/kg, i.p.) or vehicle for 24 h. Subsequently, these mice were challenged with APAP (400 mg/kg, i.p.) for 6 h. Liver and blood samples were collected to evaluate liver injury and protein abundance. Treatment with CD significantly reduced APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. Furthermore, CD effectively reduced APAP-induced inflammation by inhibiting high mobility group box 1 (HMGB1), toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), and NOD-like receptor protein 3 (NLRP3) signaling. In addition, CD induced activation of sequestosome 1 (p62) and NFE2L2 signaling and facilitated autophagy. By applying autophagy inhibitor 3-methyladenine (3-MA; 20 mg/kg, i.p.), further mechanistic exploration revealed that NFE2L2 deficiency promoted autophagic activity induced by CD treatment, which was conducive to the hepatoprotective effect of CD against APAP-induced hepatoxicity in NFE2L2−/− mice. Overall, data suggest that CD has hepatoprotective effect against APAP-induced ALI, which might contribute to the activation of NFE2L2 and autophagy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number601716
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
StatePublished - Nov 13 2020


  • NFE2L2
  • acetaminophen
  • acute liver injury
  • autophagy
  • cardamonin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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