Mycophenolate mofetil attenuates concanavalin A-induced acute liver injury through modulation of TLR4/NF-κB and Nrf2/HO-1 pathways

  • Marwa S. Serrya
  • Marwa S. ZaghloulEmail author



Acute liver injury (ALI) is a serious health condition associated with rising morbidity and sudden progression. This study was designed to investigate the possible hepatocurative potential of two dose levels (30 and 60 mg/kg) of Mycophenolate mofetil (MMF), an immune-suppressant agent, against Concanavalin A (Con A)-induced ALI in mice.


A single dose of Con A (20 mg/kg, IV) was used to induce ALI in mice. MMF (30 mg/kg and 60 mg/kg) was administered orally for 4 days post Con A injection.


MMF (30 mg/kg) failed to cause significant amelioration in Con A-induced ALI while MMF (60 mg/kg) significantly alleviated Con A-induced ALI. Administration of MMF (60 mg/kg) significantly decreased Con A-induced increase in serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels. Additionally, MMF significantly restored the disrupted oxidant/antioxidants status induced by Con A. MMF caused marked increase in hepatic nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) levels. Moreover, MMF significantly reduced Con A-induced increase in the expression of hepatic toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4), nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interferon-γ (INF-γ) and interleukin-1β (Il-1β). Also, MMF administration significantly decreased Con A-induced increase in the immune-expression of pro-apoptotic Bcl-2-associated X protein (Bax) and markedly increased Con A-induced decrease in the anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma 2 protein (Bcl2).


The observed ameliorative effect of MMF against Con A-induce ALI may be contributed to its anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-apoptotic potentials taking into consideration that TLR4/NF-κB and Nrf2/HO-1 are the main implicated pathways.

Graphic abstract

Schematic diagram summarizing the possible mechanisms underlying the ameliorative potential of Mycophenolate Mofetil against Con A-induced acute liver injury. Bax Bcl-2-associated X protein, Bcl2 B-cell lymphoma 2, MMF Mycophenolate mofetil, Con A Concanavalin A, GSH reduced glutathione, HO-1 Heme oxygenase-1, IL-1β Interleukin-1β, IFN-γ Interferon-γ, MDA Malondialdehyde, NF-κB Nuclear Factor Kappa B, Nrf2 Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2, NO Nitric Oxide, SOD Superoxide Dismutase, TLR4 Toll-like receptor 4, TNF-α tumor necrosis factor-α


Mycophenolate mofetil Con A TLR4 NF-κB Nrf2 HO-1 Bax and Bcl2 



Acute liver injury


Alanine aminotransferase


Aspartate aminotransferase


Bcl-2-associated X protein


B-cell lymphoma 2.

Con A

Concanavalin A


Reduced glutathione


Heme oxygenase-1


Hematoxylin and eosin










Mycophenolate mofetil


Nuclear factor kappa B


Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2


Nitric oxide


Superoxide dismutase


Toll-like receptor 4


Tumor necrosis factor-α


Author contributions

All authors are equally contributed to all aspects of the study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

No conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Maj Institute of Pharmacology Polish Academy of Sciences 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Faculty of PharmacyMansoura UniversityMansouraEgypt

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