Natural product heme oxygenase inducers as treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

David E. Stec, Terry D. Hinds

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Heme oxygenase (HO) is a critical component of the defense mechanism to a wide variety of cellular stressors. HO induction affords cellular protection through the breakdown of toxic heme into metabolites, helping preserve cellular integrity. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a pathological condition by which the liver accumulates fat. The incidence of NAFLD has reached all-time high levels driven primarily by the obesity epidemic. NALFD can progress to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), advancing further to liver cirrhosis or cancer. NAFLD is also a contributing factor to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. There are currently no drugs to specifically treat NAFLD, with most treatments focused on lifestyle modifications. One emerging area for NAFLD treatment is the use of dietary supplements such as curcumin, pomegranate seed oil, milk thistle oil, cold-pressed Nigella Satvia oil, and resveratrol, among others. Recent studies have demonstrated that several of these natural dietary supplements attenuate hepatic lipid accumulation and fibrosis in NAFLD animal models. The beneficial actions of several of these compounds are associated with the induction of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Thus, targeting HO-1 through dietary-supplements may be a useful therapeutic for NAFLD either alone or with lifestyle modifications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9493
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 2 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the National Institutes of Health 1R01DK121797 (T.D.H.J.) and 1R01DK126884 (D.E.S.), the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute K01HL125445 (T.D.H.J.) and P01HL0519711 (D.E.S.), and the National Institute of General Medical Sciences P20GM104357 (D.E.S.). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Bilirubin
  • Biliverdin reductase
  • HO-1
  • HO-2
  • Hepatic function
  • Inflammation
  • NASH
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Natural product heme oxygenase inducers as treatment for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this