J Nutr Biochem. 2022 Mar;101:108923. doi: 10.1016/j.jnutbio.2021.108923. Epub 2021 Nov 26.(IF:6.048).

Morin inhibits the transformation of fibroblasts towards myofibroblasts through regulating “PPAR-γ-glutaminolysis-DEPTOR” pathway in pulmonary fibrosis

Yumeng Miao  1 Yanzhi Geng  1 Ling Yang  1 Yun Zheng  1 Yue Dai  2 Zhifeng Wei  3 Affiliations


Morin, a natural flavonoid exists in many foods and dietary plants, owns good bioactivities. Herein, we investigated its effect on pulmonary fibrosis (PF), and further explored the mechanisms. Results showed that morin remarkably improved the pathologic alterations, and inhibited the transformation of fibroblasts towards myofibroblasts in lungs of mice with bleomycin-induced PF as well as TGF-β1 or hypoxia-stimulated NIH-3T3 cells. Mechanistic studies revealed that morin activated peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-gamma (PPAR-γ), and GW9662 or siPPAR-γ significantly weakened the inhibition of morin on the transformation of NIH-3T3 cells. Furthermore, morin restricted glutaminolysis by down-regulating the level of glutaminase 1 (GLS1), which was confirmed by glutamine deprivation, and GLS1 overexpression. Replenishment of metabolite α-ketoglutarate (α-KG) and 2-hydroxyglutarate (2-HG) inhibited morin-prevented transformation of fibroblasts, but neither TGF-β1 nor hypoxia could induce the transformation of IDH2-knockdown fibroblasts, suggesting 2-HG was directly involved in the action of morin. Then, ubiquitination of DEPTOR was demonstrated to be prevented by morin, which was attributed to KDM4A, an enzyme inactivated by 2-HG, and leucine as well as KDM4A inhibitor obstructed the effect of morin. Finally, the mechanisms of morin were further confirmed in vivo. Collectively, morin inhibited PF through intervening in “PPAR-γ-glutaminolysis-DEPTOR” signals, and subsequent restriction on the transformation of fibroblasts towards myofibroblasts.

Keywords: PPAR-γ; glutaminolysis; morin; pulmonary fibrosis; transformation of fibroblasts towards myofibroblasts.