Therapeutic potential of dithiolethiones for hepatic diseases

Samuel Carroll Brooks, Janie Sue Brooks, Woo Hyung Lee, Myung Gull Lee, Sang Geon Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Comprehensive studies support the notion that oltipraz [4-methyl-5-(2-pyrazynyl)-1,2-dithiole-3-thione] and its congeners exert cancer chemopreventive effects by the prevention, inhibition or reversal of carcinogenic processes. Recently, it was found that dithiolethione compounds had the activities to prevent or treat fibrosis, insulin resistance, and mitochondrial protective effects in the liver by a mechanism involving AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and/or 70-kDa ribosomal protein S6 kinase 1 (S6K1). Moreover, chemical regulation of the AMPK-S6K1 pathway was found to affect Liver X receptor (LXR) activity and lipogenesis, leading to the identification of AMPK and S6K1 as targets for treating hepatic steatosis. These biological activities of dithiolethiones may offer a novel approach to pharmaceutical intervention. This review focuses on the interaction between oltipraz and the AMPK-mTOR-S6K1 pathway, which regulates genes that confer hepatocyte protection from intoxication, disrupted energy metabolism, and inflammation. In terms of therapeutic potential, the findings reviewed here demonstrate a new therapeutic potential for dithiolethiones, which function in a unique manner, and offer the possibility of new treatments for hepatic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-43
Number of pages13
JournalPharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation (KOSEF) grant funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. R11-2007-107-01001-0), South Korea, and by the World Class University project funded by the Korea government (MEST) (No. R32-2008-000-10098-0), South Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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