Coffee attenuates fibrosis by decreasing the expression of TGF-β and CTGF in a murine model of liver damage.
This study was performed to evaluate the antifibrotic properties of coffee in a model of liver damage induced by repeated administration of thioacetamide (TAA) in male Wistar rats. In this study, cirrhosis was induced by chronic TAA administration and the effects of co-administration of conventional caffeinated coffee or decaffeinated coffee (CC, DC, respectively) for 8 weeks were evaluated. TAA administration elevated serum alkaline phosphatase (AP), γ-glutamyl transpeptidase (γ-GTP) and alanine aminotransferase (ALAT), liver lipid peroxidation, collagen content, depleted liver glycogen and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activity. Additionally increased levels of a number of proteins were detected including transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) and alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2, 9 and 13. Coffee suppressed most of the changes produced by TAA. Histopathological analysis was in agreement with biochemical and molecular findings. These results indicate that coffee attenuates experimental cirrhosis; the action mechanisms are probably associated with its antioxidant properties and mainly by its ability to block the elevation of the profibrogenic cytokine TGF-β and its downstream effector CTGF. Various components of coffee that have been related to such a favorable effect include caffeine, coffee oils kahweol, cafestol and antioxidant substances; however, no definite evidence for the role of these components has been established. These results support earlier findings suggesting a beneficial effect of coffee on the liver. However, more basic clinical studies must be performed to confirm this hypothesis.