Diclofenac impairs autophagic flux via oxidative stress and lysosomal dysfunction: Implications for hepatotoxicity

Seung Hwan Jung, Wonseok Lee, Seung Hyun Park, Kang Yo Lee, You Jin Choi, Soohee Choi, Dongmin Kang, Sinri Kim, Tong Shin Chang, Soon Sun Hong, Byung Hoon Lee

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55 Scopus citations


Treatment with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is associated with various side effects, including cardiovascular and hepatic disorders. Studies suggest that mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress are important mediators of toxicity, yet the underlying mechanisms are poorly understood. In this study, we identified that some NSAIDs, including diclofenac, inhibit autophagic flux in hepatocytes. Further detailed studies demonstrated that diclofenac induced a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent increase in lysosomal pH, attenuated cathepsin activity and blocked autophagosome-lysosome fusion. The reactivation of lysosomal function by treatment with clioquinol or transfection with the transcription factor EB restored lysosomal pH and thus autophagic flux. The production of mitochondrial ROS is critical for this process since scavenging ROS reversed lysosomal dysfunction and activated autophagic flux. The compromised lysosomal activity induced by diclofenac also inhibited the fusion with and degradation of mitochondria by mitophagy. Diclofenac-induced cell death and hepatotoxicity were effectively protected by rapamycin. Thus, we demonstrated that diclofenac induces the intracellular ROS production and lysosomal dysfunction that lead to the suppression of autophagy. Impaired autophagy fails to maintain mitochondrial integrity and aggravates the cellular ROS burden, which leads to diclofenac-induced hepatotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101751
JournalRedox Biology
StatePublished - Oct 2020

Bibliographical note

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© 2020 The Author(s)


  • Diclofenac
  • Hepatotoxicity
  • Lysosomal dysfunction
  • Mitophagy
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Reactive oxygen species


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