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Transplant immunology  2012;26(4):201-206.
Steatotic liver grafts tolerate ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury poorly, contributing to increased primary graft nonfunction following transplantation. Activation of nuclear factor kappa-B (NFκB) following I/R injury plays a crucial role in activation of pro-inflammatory responses leading to injury.
We evaluated the role of NFκB in steatotic liver injury by using an orthotopic liver transplant (OLT) model in Zucker rats (lean to lean or obese to lean) to define the mechanisms of steatotic liver injury. Obese donors were treated with bortezomib to assess the role of NF-κB in steatotic liver I/R injury. Hepatic levels of NF-κB and pro-inflammatory cytokines were analyzed by ELISA. Serum transaminase levels and histopathological analysis were performed to assess associated graft injury.
I/R injury in steatotic liver results in significant increases in activation of NF-κB (40%, p<0.003), specifically the p65 subunit following transplantation. Steatotic donor pretreatment with proteasome inhibitor bortezomib (0.1 mg/kg) resulted in significant reduction in levels of activated NF-κB (0.58±0.18 vs. 1.37±0.06 O.D./min/10μg protein, p<0.003). Bortezomib treatment also reduced expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines MIP-2 compared with control treated steatotic and lean liver transplants respectively (106±17.5 vs. 443.3±49.9 vs. 176±10.6 pg/mL, p=0.02), TNF-α (223.8±29.9 vs. 518.5±66.5 vs 264.5±30.1 pg/2μg protein, p=0.003) and IL-1β (6.0±0.91 vs. 19.8±5.2 vs 5±1.7 pg/10μg protein, p= 0.02) along with a significant reduction in ALT levels (715±71 vs 3712.5±437.5 vs 606±286 U/L, p=0.01).
These results suggest that I/R injury in steatotic liver transplantation are associated with exaggerated activation of NFκB subunit p65, leading to an inflammatory mechanism of reperfusion injury and necrosis. Proteasome inhibition in steatotic liver donor reduces NFκB p65 activation and inflammatory I/R injury, improving transplant outcomes of steatotic grafts in a rat model.
PMCID: PMC3675789  PMID: 22286145
hepatic steatosis; I/R injury; liver transplantation; NFκB; PS-341; bortezomib; obese; marginal graft
2.  S-Nitroso-N-Acetylcysteine Ameliorates Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury In The Steatotic Liver 
Clinics  2010;65(7):715-721.
Steatosis is currently the most common chronic liver disease and it can aggravate ischemia-reperfusion (IR) lesions. We hypothesized that S-nitroso-N-acetylcysteine (SNAC), an NO donor component, can ameliorate cell damage from IR injury. In this paper, we report the effect of SNAC on liver IR in rats with normal livers compared to those with steatotic livers.
Thirty-four rats were divided into five groups: I (n=8), IR in normal liver; II (n=8), IR in normal liver with SNAC; III (n=9), IR in steatotic liver; IV (n=9), IR in steatotic liver with SNAC; and V (n=10), SHAN. Liver steatosis was achieved by administration of a protein-free diet. A SNAC solution was infused intraperitoneally for one hour, beginning 30 min. after partial (70%) liver ischemia. The volume of solution infused was 1 ml/100 g body weight. The animals were sacrificed four hours after reperfusion, and the liver and lung were removed for analysis. We assessed hepatic histology, mitochondrial respiration, oxidative stress (MDA), and pulmonary myeloperoxidase.
All groups showed significant alterations compared with the group that received SHAN. The results from the steatotic SNAC group revealed a significant improvement in liver mitochondrial respiration and oxidative stress compared to the steatotic group without SNAC. No difference in myeloperoxidase was observed. Histological analysis revealed no difference between the non-steatotic groups. However, the SNAC groups showed less intraparenchymal hemorrhage than groups without SNAC (p=0.02).
This study suggests that SNAC effectively protects against IR injury in the steatotic liver but not in the normal liver.
PMCID: PMC2910861  PMID: 20668630
Fatty liver; S-nitrosothiol; S-nitroso-N-acetylcysteine; reperfusion injury; oxidative stress
3.  Endoplasmic reticulum stress inhibition protects steatotic and non-steatotic livers in partial hepatectomy under ischemia–reperfusion 
Cell Death & Disease  2010;1(7):e52-.
During partial hepatectomy, ischemia–reperfusion (I/R) is commonly applied in clinical practice to reduce blood flow. Steatotic livers show impaired regenerative response and reduced tolerance to hepatic injury. We examined the effects of tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA) and 4-phenyl butyric acid (PBA) in steatotic and non-steatotic livers during partial hepatectomy under I/R (PH+I/R). Their effects on the induction of unfolded protein response (UPR) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress were also evaluated. We report that PBA, and especially TUDCA, reduced inflammation, apoptosis and necrosis, and improved liver regeneration in both liver types. Both compounds, especially TUDCA, protected both liver types against ER damage, as they reduced the activation of two of the three pathways of UPR (namely inositol-requiring enzyme and PKR-like ER kinase) and their target molecules caspase 12, c-Jun N-terminal kinase and C/EBP homologous protein-10. Only TUDCA, possibly mediated by extracellular signal-regulated kinase upregulation, inactivated glycogen synthase kinase-3β. This is turn, inactivated mitochondrial voltage-dependent anion channel, reduced cytochrome c release from the mitochondria and caspase 9 activation and protected both liver types against mitochondrial damage. These findings indicate that chemical chaperones, especially TUDCA, could protect steatotic and non-steatotic livers against injury and regeneration failure after PH+I/R.
PMCID: PMC3032561  PMID: 21364657
hepatic ischemia–reperfusion; hepatic resection; steatotic liver; endoplasmic reticulum stress; 4-phenyl butyric acid; taurine-conjugated ursodeoxycholic acid
4.  Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress is a Mediator of Post-Transplant Injury in Severely Steatotic Liver Allografts 
Hepatic steatosis continues to present a major challenge in liver transplantation. These organs have been shown to have an increased susceptibility to cold ischemia and reperfusion (CIR) injury compared to otherwise comparable lean livers; the mechanisms governing this increased susceptibility to CIR injury are not fully understood. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is an important link between hepatic steatosis, insulin resistance and the metabolic syndrome. In this study, we investigated ER stress signaling and blockade in the mediation of CIR injury in severely steatotic rodent allografts. Steatotic allografts from genetically leptin-resistant rodents had increased ER stress responses and increased markers of hepatocellular injury following liver transplantation into strain-matched lean recipients. ER stress response components were decreased by the chemical chaperone, TUDCA, resulting in improvement of the allograft injury. TUDCA treatment decreased NF-κB activation, and the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-1β. However, the predominant response was decreased expression of the ER stress cell death mediator, CHOP. Further, activation of the inflammation-associated caspase 11 was decreased linking ER Stress/CHOP to pro-inflammatory cytokine production following steatotic liver transplantation. These data confirm ER stress in steatotic allografts, and implicate this as a mediating mechanism of inflammation and hepatocyte death in the steatotic liver allograft.
PMCID: PMC3056557  PMID: 21280192
Liver Transplantation; Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress; Hepatic Steatosis; Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury
5.  Influence of Kupffer cells and platelets on ischemia-reperfusion injury in mild steatotic liver 
AIM: To investigate the effect of mild steatotic liver on ischemia-reperfusion injury by focusing on Kupffer cells (KCs) and platelets.
METHODS: Wistar rats were divided into a normal liver group (N group) and a mild steatotic liver group (S group) induced by feeding a choline-deficient diet for 2 wk. Both groups were subjected to 20 min of warm ischemia followed by 120 min of reperfusion. The number of labeled KCs and platelets in sinusoids and the blood perfusion in sinusoids were observed by intravital microscopy (IVM), which was performed at 30, 60 and 120 min after reperfusion. To evaluate serum alanine aminotransferase as a marker of liver deterioration, blood samples were taken at the same time as IVM.
RESULTS: In the S group, the number of platelets adhering to KCs decreased significantly compared with the N group (120 after reperfusion; 2.9 ± 1.1 cells/acinus vs 4.8 ± 1.2 cells/acinus, P < 0.01). The number of KCs in sinusoids was significantly less in the S group than in the N group throughout the observation periods (before ischemia, 19.6 ± 3.3 cells/acinus vs 28.2 ± 4.1 cells/acinus, P < 0.01 and 120 min after reperfusion, 29.0 ± 4.3 cells/acinus vs 40.2 ± 3.3 cells/acinus, P < 0.01). The blood perfusion of sinusoids 120 min after reperfusion was maintained in the S group more than in the N group. Furthermore, elevation of serum alanine aminotransferase was lower in the S group than in the N group 120 min after reperfusion (99.7 ± 19.8 IU/L vs 166.3 ± 61.1 IU/L, P = 0.041), and histological impairment of hepatocyte structure was prevented in the S group.
CONCLUSION: Ischemia-reperfusion injury in mild steatotic liver was attenuated compared with normal liver due to the decreased number of KCs and the reduction of the KC-platelet interaction.
PMCID: PMC3602499  PMID: 23539073
Steatotic liver; Mild steatotic liver; Kupffer cell; Platelet; Ischemia-reperfusion; Intravital microscopy
6.  Vitamin E Succinate Enhances Steatotic Liver Energy Status and Prevents Oxidative Damage Following Ischemia/Reperfusion 
Transplantation proceedings  2009;41(10):4094-4098.
We have previously shown that treatment of steatotic livers with vitamin E succinate decreases liver injury and increases survival after ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). It is now understood that compromised energy status is associated with increased injury following liver ischemia in the setting of hepatic steatosis at least partially as a result of increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and induction of mitochondrial uncoupling protein-2 (UCP2). Given the association between ROS, mitochondrial function, and UCP2, it was our goal to determine whether the protective effects of vitamin E succinate were associated with decreased ROS injury, down-regulation of UCP2, or improvement of ATP levels following I/R. To test this, leptin deficient (ob/ob) mice with steatotic livers that had received other 50 IU of vitamin E succinate supplement per day or control chow for 7 days were subjected to total hepatic ischemia (15 minutes) followed by reperfusion. We measured liver expressions of ATP, glutathione (GSH), and UCP2 as well as mitochondrial DNA damage. Vitamin E treatment decreased hepatic UCP2 expression and increased ATP and GSH levels prior to I/R. These levels were maintained at 1 hour after I/R. At 24 hours, while hepatic UCP2 expression, ATP, and GSH levels were similar to those of mice not receiving vitamin E, mitochondrial DNA damage was blocked. These results revealed that vitamin E succinate decreased hepatic UCP2 expression, reduced oxidative stress, and improved mitochondrial function in mice with steatotic livers before and after I/R, identifying mechanisms of protection in this setting.
PMCID: PMC2938023  PMID: 20005347
7.  Trimetazidine: Is it a promising drug for use in steatotic grafts? 
AIM: Chronic organ-donor shortage has led to the acceptance of steatotic livers for transplantation, despite the higher risk of graft dysfunction or nonfunction associated with the ischemic preservation period of these organs. The present study evaluates the effects of trimetazidine (TMZ) on an isolated perfused liver model.
METHODS: Steatotic and non-steatotic livers were preserved for 24 h in the University of Wisconsin (UW) solution with or without TMZ. Hepatic injury and function (transaminases, bile production and sulfobromophthalein (BSP) clearance) and factors potentially involved in the susceptibility of steatotic livers to ischemia–reperfusion (I/R) injury, including oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage, microcirculatory diseases, and ATP depletion were evaluated.
RESULTS: Steatotic livers preserved in UW solution showed higher transaminase levels, lower bile production and BSP clearance compared with non-steatotic livers. Alterations in perfusion flow rate and vascular resistance, mitochondrial damage, and reduced ATP content were more evident in steatotic livers. TMZ addition to UW solution reduced hepatic injury and ameliorated hepatic functionality in both types of the liver and protected against the mechanisms potentially responsible for the poor tolerance of steatotic livers to I/R.
CONCLUSION: TMZ may constitute a useful approach in fatty liver surgery, limiting the inherent risk of steatotic liver failure following transplantation.
PMCID: PMC4066156  PMID: 16521219
Steatotic liver; Ischemia–reperfusion; UW preservation solution
8.  Stress Genes and Proteins in the Archaea 
The field covered in this review is new; the first sequence of a gene encoding the molecular chaperone Hsp70 and the first description of a chaperonin in the archaea were reported in 1991. These findings boosted research in other areas beyond the archaea that were directly relevant to bacteria and eukaryotes, for example, stress gene regulation, the structure-function relationship of the chaperonin complex, protein-based molecular phylogeny of organisms and eukaryotic-cell organelles, molecular biology and biochemistry of life in extreme environments, and stress tolerance at the cellular and molecular levels. In the last 8 years, archaeal stress genes and proteins belonging to the families Hsp70, Hsp60 (chaperonins), Hsp40(DnaJ), and small heat-shock proteins (sHsp) have been studied. The hsp70(dnaK), hsp40(dnaJ), and grpE genes (the chaperone machine) have been sequenced in seven, four, and two species, respectively, but their expression has been examined in detail only in the mesophilic methanogen Methanosarcina mazei S-6. The proteins possess markers typical of bacterial homologs but none of the signatures distinctive of eukaryotes. In contrast, gene expression and transcription initiation signals and factors are of the eucaryal type, which suggests a hybrid archaeal-bacterial complexion for the Hsp70 system. Another remarkable feature is that several archaeal species in different phylogenetic branches do not have the gene hsp70(dnaK), an evolutionary puzzle that raises the important question of what replaces the product of this gene, Hsp70(DnaK), in protein biogenesis and refolding and for stress resistance. Although archaea are prokaryotes like bacteria, their Hsp60 (chaperonin) family is of type (group) II, similar to that of the eukaryotic cytosol; however, unlike the latter, which has several different members, the archaeal chaperonin system usually includes only two (in some species one and in others possibly three) related subunits of ∼60 kDa. These form, in various combinations depending on the species, a large structure or chaperonin complex sometimes called the thermosome. This multimolecular assembly is similar to the bacterial chaperonin complex GroEL/S, but it is made of only the large, double-ring oligomers each with eight (or nine) subunits instead of seven as in the bacterial complex. Like Hsp70(DnaK), the archaeal chaperonin subunits are remarkable for their evolution, but for a different reason. Ubiquitous among archaea, the chaperonins show a pattern of recurrent gene duplication—hetero-oligomeric chaperonin complexes appear to have evolved several times independently. The stress response and stress tolerance in the archaea involve chaperones, chaperonins, other heat shock (stress) proteins including sHsp, thermoprotectants, the proteasome, as yet incompletely understood thermoresistant features of many molecules, and formation of multicellular structures. The latter structures include single- and mixed-species (bacterial-archaeal) types. Many questions remain unanswered, and the field offers extraordinary opportunities owing to the diversity, genetic makeup, and phylogenetic position of archaea and the variety of ecosystems they inhabit. Specific aspects that deserve investigation are elucidation of the mechanism of action of the chaperonin complex at different temperatures, identification of the partners and substitutes for the Hsp70 chaperone machine, analysis of protein folding and refolding in hyperthermophiles, and determination of the molecular mechanisms involved in stress gene regulation in archaeal species that thrive under widely different conditions (temperature, pH, osmolarity, and barometric pressure). These studies are now possible with uni- and multicellular archaeal models and are relevant to various areas of basic and applied research, including exploration and conquest of ecosystems inhospitable to humans and many mammals and plants.
PMCID: PMC98981  PMID: 10585970
9.  Ischemic preconditioning induces autophagy and limits necrosis in human recipients of fatty liver grafts, decreasing the incidence of rejection episodes 
Cell Death & Disease  2011;2(1):e111-.
Whether ischemic preconditioning (IP) reduces ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in human normal and fatty livers remains controversial. We compared two independent groups of liver donor transplants with versus without steatosis to evaluate IP consequences. Liver donors with (n=22) or without (n=28) steatosis either did or did not undergo IP before graft retrieval. Clinical data from the recipients, as well as histological and immunohistological characteristics of post-reperfusion biopsies were analyzed. Incidence of post-reperfusion necrosis was increased (10/10 versus 9/14, respectively; P<0.05) and the clinical outcome of recipients was worse for non-IP steatotic liver grafts compared with non-IP non-steatotic grafts. IP significantly lowered the transaminase values only in patients receiving a non-steatotic liver. An increased expression of beclin-1 and LC3, two pro-autophagic proteins, tended to decrease the incidence of necrosis (P=0.067) in IP steatotic livers compared with non-IP steatotic group. IP decreased the incidence of acute and chronic rejection episodes in steatotic livers (2/12 versus 6/10; P=0.07 and 2/12 versus 7/10; P<0.05, respectively), but not in non-steatotic livers. Thus, IP may induce autophagy in human steatotic liver grafts and reduce rejection in their recipients.
PMCID: PMC3077285  PMID: 21368883
steatosis; liver transplantation; ischemia/reperfusion; ischemic preconditioning; autophagy; liver
The serious need for expanding the donor population has attracted attention to the use of steatotic donor livers in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). However, steatotic livers are highly susceptible to hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Expression of fibronectin (FN) by endothelial cells is an important feature of hepatic response to injury. We report the effect of a cyclic RGD peptide with high affinity for the α5β1, the FN integrin receptor, in a rat model of steatotic liver cold ischemia, followed by transplantation. RGD peptide therapy ameliorated steatotic IRI and improved recipient survival rate. It significantly inhibited the recruitment of monocyte/macrophages and neutrophils, and depressed the expression of pro-inflammatory mediators, such as inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and interferon (IFN)-γ. Moreover, it resulted in profound inhibition of metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) expression, a gelatinase implied in leukocyte migration in damaged livers. Finally, we show that RGD peptide therapy reduced the expression of the 17-kDa active caspase-3 and the number of apoptotic cells in steatotic OLTs. The observed protection against steatotic liver IRI by the cyclic RGD peptides with high affinity for the α5β1 integrin suggests that this integrin is a potential therapeutic target to allow the successful utilization of marginal steatotic livers in transplantation.
PMCID: PMC2981149  PMID: 19681824
11.  Dipeptidylpeptidase-IV, a key enzyme for the degradation of incretins and neuropeptides: activity and expression in the liver of lean and obese rats 
Given the scarcity of donors, moderately fatty livers (FLs) are currently being considered as possible grafts for orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), notwithstanding their poor tolerance to conventional cold preservation. The behaviour of parenchymal and sinusoidal liver cells during transplantation is being studied worldwide. Much less attention has been paid to the biliary tree, although this is considered the Achille's heel even of normal liver transplantation. To evaluate the response of the biliary compartment of FLs to the various phases of OLT reliable markers are necessary. Previously we demonstrated that Alkaline Phosphatase was scarcely active in bile canaliculi of FLs and thus ruled it out as a marker. As an alternative, dipeptidylpeptidase-IV (DPP-IV), was investigated. This ecto-peptidase plays an important role in glucose metabolism, rapidly inactivating insulin secreting hormones (incretins) that are important regulators of glucose metabolism. DPP-IV inhibitors are indeed used to treat Type II diabetes. Neuropeptides regulating bile transport and composition are further important substrates of DPP-IV in the enterohepatic axis. DPP-IV activity was investigated with an azo-coupling method in the liver of fatty Zucker rats (fa/fa), using as controls lean Zucker (fa/+) and normal Wistar rats. Protein expression was studied by immunofluorescence with the monoclonal antibody (clone 5E8). In Wistar rat liver, DPP-IV activity and expression were high in the whole biliary tree, and moderate in sinusoid endothelial cells, in agreement with the literature. Main substrates of DPP-IV in hepatocytes and cholangiocytes could be incretins GLP-1 and GIP, and neuropeptides such as vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and substance P, suggesting that these substances are inactivated or modified through the biliary route. In lean Zucker rat liver the enzyme reaction and protein expression patterns were similar to those of Wistar rat. In obese rat liver the patterns of DPP-IV activity and expression in hepatocytes reflected the morphological alterations induced by steatosis as lipid-rich hepatocytes had scarce activity, located either in deformed bile canaliculi or in the sinusoidal and lateral domains of the plasma membrane. These findings suggest that bile canaliculi in steatotic cells have an impaired capacity to inactivate incretins and neuropeptides. Incretin and/or neuropeptide deregulation is indeed thought to play important roles in obesity and insulin-resistance. No alteration in enzyme activity and expression was found in the upper segments of the biliary tree of obese respect to lean Zucker and Wistar rats. In conclusion, this research demonstrates that DPP-IV is a promising in situ marker of biliary functionality not only of normal but also of fatty rats. The approach, initially devised to investigate the behaviour of the liver during the various phases of transplantation, appears to have a much higher potentiality as it could be further exploited to investigate any pathological or stressful conditions involving the biliary tract (i.e., metabolic syndrome and cholestasis) and the response of the biliary tract to therapy and/or to surgery.
PMCID: PMC3567760  PMID: 23361237
Dipeptidylpeptidase-IV; fatty liver; incretins; neuropeptides; biliary tree; bile canaliculi; hepatocytes.
12.  Hepatocyte apoptosis is enhanced after ischemia/reperfusion in the steatotic liver 
Liver steatosis is associated with organ dysfunction after hepatic resection and transplantation which may be caused by hepatic ischemia/reperfusion injury. The aim of the current study was to determine the precise mechanism leading to hepatocyte apoptosis after steatotic liver ischemia/reperfusion. Using a murine model of partial hepatic ischemia for 90 min, we examined the levels and pathway of apoptosis, and the peroxynitrite expression, serum alanine aminotransferase levels, and liver histology 1 and 4 h after reperfusion. In the steatotic liver, the peroxynitrite expression increased after ischemia/reperfusion. Significant hepatocyte apoptosis in the steatotic liver was seen after reperfusion, caused by upregulation of cleaved caspases 9 and 3, but not caspase 8. Serum alanine aminotransferase levels were elevated and histological examination revealed severe liver injury in the steatotic liver 4 h after reperfusion. In mice treated with aminoguanidine, ischemia/reperfusion-induced increases in serum alanine aminotransferase levels and apoptosis were significantly reduced in steatotic liver compared with mice treated with phosphate buffered saline. Survival of mice with steatotic livers significantly improved by treatment with aminoguanidine. Our data suggested that the steatotic liver is vulnerable to hepatic ischemia/reperfusion, leading to significant hepatocyte apoptosis by the mitochondrial permeability transition, and thereby resulting in organ dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3045687  PMID: 21373267
steatosis; apoptosis; peroxynitrite; hepatic resection
13.  Hypoxia inducible factor-1α accumulation in steatotic liver preservation: Role of nitric oxide 
AIM: To examine the relevance of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF-1) and nitric oxide (NO) on the preservation of fatty liver against cold ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI).
METHODS: We used an isolated perfused rat liver model and we evaluated HIF-1α in steatotic and non-steatotic livers preserved for 24 h at 4°C in University of Wisconsin and IGL-1 solutions, and then subjected to 2 h of normothermic reperfusion. After normoxic reperfusion, liver enzymes, bile production, bromosulfophthalein clearance, as well as HIF-1α and NO [endothelial NO synthase (eNOS) activity and nitrites/nitrates] were also measured. Other factors associated with the higher susceptibility of steatotic livers to IRI, such as mitochondrial damage and vascular resistance were evaluated.
RESULTS: A significant increase in HIF-1α was found in steatotic and non-steatotic livers preserved in IGL-1 after cold storage. Livers preserved in IGL-1 showed a significant attenuation of liver injury and improvement in liver function parameters. These benefits were enhanced by the addition of trimetazidine (an anti-ischemic drug), which induces NO and eNOS activation, to IGL-1 solution. In normoxic reperfusion, the presence of NO favors HIF-1α accumulation, promoting also the activation of other cytoprotective genes, such as heme-oxygenase-1.
CONCLUSION: We found evidence for the role of the HIF-1α/NO system in fatty liver preservation, especially when IGL-1 solution is used.
PMCID: PMC2909549  PMID: 20653058
Fatty liver; Tissue preservation; Hypoxia inducible factor-1α; IGL-1; Nitric oxide; Trimetazidine
14.  Upregulation of heme oxygenase-1 protects genetically fat Zucker rat livers from ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1999;104(11):1631-1639.
We examined the effects of upregulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in steatotic rat liver models of ex vivo cold ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In the model of ischemia/isolated perfusion, treatment of genetically obese Zucker rats with the HO-1 inducer cobalt protoporphyrin (CoPP) or with adenoviral HO-1 (Ad-HO-1) significantly improved portal venous blood flow, increased bile production, and decreased hepatocyte injury. Unlike in untreated rats or those pretreated with the HO-1 inhibitor zinc protoporphyrin (ZnPP), upregulation of HO-1 by Western blots correlated with amelioration of histologic features of I/R injury. Adjunctive infusion of ZnPP abrogated the beneficial effects of Ad-HO-1 gene transfer, documenting the direct involvement of HO-1 in protection against I/R injury. Following cold ischemia/isotransplantation, HO-1 overexpression extended animal survival from 40% in untreated controls to about 80% after CoPP or Ad-HO-1 therapy. This effect correlated with preserved hepatic architecture, improved liver function, and depressed infiltration by T cells and macrophages. Hence, CoPP- or gene therapy–induced HO-1 prevented I/R injury in steatotic rat livers. These findings provide the rationale for refined new treatments that should increase the supply of usable donor livers and ultimately improve the overall success of liver transplantation.
J. Clin. Invest. 104:1631–1639 (1999).
PMCID: PMC409865  PMID: 10587527
15.  Pediatric Sepsis – Part V: Extracellular Heat Shock Proteins: Alarmins for the Host Immune System 
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are molecular chaperones that facilitate the proper folding and assembly of nascent polypeptides and assist in the refolding and stabilization of damaged polypeptides. Through these largely intracellular functions, the HSPs maintain homeostasis and assure cell survival. However, a growing body of literature suggests that HSPs have important effects in the extracellular environment as well. Extracellular HSPs are released from damaged or stressed cells and appear to act as local “danger signals” that activate stress response programs in surrounding cells. Importantly, extracellular HSPs have been shown to activate the host innate and adaptive immune response. With this in mind, extracellular HSPs are commonly included in a growing list of a family of proteins known as danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs) or alarmins, which trigger an immune response to tissue injury, such as may occur with trauma, ischemia-reperfusion injury, oxidative stress, etc. Extracellular HSPs, including Hsp72 (HSPA), Hsp27 (HSPB1), Hsp90 (HSPC), Hsp60 (HSPD), and Chaperonin/Hsp10 (HSPE) are especially attractrive candidates for DAMPs or alarmins which may be particularly relevant in the pathophysiology of the sepsis syndrome.
PMCID: PMC3995031  PMID: 24765217
16.  Insulin like growth factor-1 increases fatty liver preservation in IGL-1 solution 
AIM: To investigate the benefits of insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) supplementation to serum-free institut georges lopez-1 (IGL-1)® solution to protect fatty liver against cold ischemia reperfusion injury.
METHODS: Steatotic livers were preserved for 24 h in IGL-1® solution supplemented with or without IGF-1 and then perfused “ex vivo” for 2 h at 37°C. We examined the effects of IGF-1 on hepatic damage and function (transaminases, percentage of sulfobromophthalein clearance in bile and vascular resistance). We also studied other factors associated with the poor tolerance of fatty livers to cold ischemia reperfusion injury such as mitochondrial damage, oxidative stress, nitric oxide, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and mitogen-activated protein kinases.
RESULTS: Steatotic livers preserved in IGL-1® solution supplemented with IGF-1 showed lower transaminase levels, increased bile clearance and a reduction in vascular resistance when compared to those preserved in IGL-1® solution alone. These benefits are mediated by activation of AKT and constitutive endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), as well as the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α. Mitochondrial damage and oxidative stress were also prevented.
CONCLUSION: IGL-1® enrichment with IGF-1 increased fatty liver graft preservation through AKT and eNOS activation, and prevented TNF-α release during normothermic reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC2997984  PMID: 21128318
AKT; Institut georges lopez-1® solution; Insulin like growth factor-1; Ischemia reperfusion injury; Nitric oxide; Oxidative stress; Steatotic graft preservation
17.  The Effect of tert-Butyl Hydroperoxide-Induced Oxidative Stress on Lean and Steatotic Rat Hepatocytes In Vitro 
Oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction play an important role in the pathogenesis of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and toxic liver injury. The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of exogenous inducer of oxidative stress (tert-butyl hydroperoxide, tBHP) on nonfatty and steatotic hepatocytes isolated from the liver of rats fed by standard and high-fat diet, respectively. In control steatotic hepatocytes, we found higher generation of ROS, increased lipoperoxidation, an altered redox state of glutathione, and decreased ADP-stimulated respiration using NADH-linked substrates, as compared to intact lean hepatocytes. Fatty hepatocytes exposed to tBHP exert more severe damage, lower reduced glutathione to total glutathione ratio, and higher formation of ROS and production of malondialdehyde and are more susceptible to tBHP-induced decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential. Respiratory control ratio of complex I was significantly reduced by tBHP in both lean and steatotic hepatocytes, but reduction in NADH-dependent state 3 respiration was more severe in fatty cells. In summary, our results collectively indicate that steatotic rat hepatocytes occur under conditions of enhanced oxidative stress and are more sensitive to the exogenous source of oxidative injury. This confirms the hypothesis of steatosis being the first hit sensitizing hepatocytes to further damage.
PMCID: PMC4009166  PMID: 24847414
18.  HSP72 Protects Cells from ER Stress-induced Apoptosis via Enhancement of IRE1α-XBP1 Signaling through a Physical Interaction 
PLoS Biology  2010;8(7):e1000410.
The cytosolic chaperone Hsp72 directly modulates stress sensing in response to the accumulation of unfolded proteins in the endoplasmic reticulum and promotes cell survival.
Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a feature of secretory cells and of many diseases including cancer, neurodegeneration, and diabetes. Adaptation to ER stress depends on the activation of a signal transduction pathway known as the unfolded protein response (UPR). Enhanced expression of Hsp72 has been shown to reduce tissue injury in response to stress stimuli and improve cell survival in experimental models of stroke, sepsis, renal failure, and myocardial ischemia. Hsp72 inhibits several features of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. However, the molecular mechanisms by which Hsp72 expression inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis are not clearly understood. Here we show that Hsp72 enhances cell survival under ER stress conditions. The UPR signals through the sensor IRE1α, which controls the splicing of the mRNA encoding the transcription factor XBP1. We show that Hsp72 enhances XBP1 mRNA splicing and expression of its target genes, associated with attenuated apoptosis under ER stress conditions. Inhibition of XBP1 mRNA splicing either by dominant negative IRE1α or by knocking down XBP1 specifically abrogated the inhibition of ER stress-induced apoptosis by Hsp72. Regulation of the UPR was associated with the formation of a stable protein complex between Hsp72 and the cytosolic domain of IRE1α. Finally, Hsp72 enhanced the RNase activity of recombinant IRE1α in vitro, suggesting a direct regulation. Our data show that binding of Hsp72 to IRE1α enhances IRE1α/XBP1 signaling at the ER and inhibits ER stress-induced apoptosis. These results provide a physical connection between cytosolic chaperones and the ER stress response.
Author Summary
The endoplasmic reticulum (ER) is responsible for production and folding of secreted proteins. When the protein folding machinery cannot keep up with demand, misfolded proteins accumulate, leading to a state of ER stress that contributes to diseases such as cancer, neurodegeneration, diabetes, and myocardial infarct. The unfolded protein response (UPR) is an intracellular signaling network activated in response to ER stress. It initially tries to restore normal ER homeostasis, but if the damage is too severe cell death pathways mediated by cytosolic and mitochondrial proteins are activated. The molecular mechanisms involved in the transition of the UPR from a protective to an apoptotic phase are unclear. IRE1α is an ER membrane protein that acts as a sensor of ER stress. A number of proteins can interact with IRE1α to regulate its function, which includes an RNase activity responsible for inducing the unconventional splicing of the transcript for a downstream signaling protein called XBP-1. Here, we report that Hsp72, a stress-inducible cytosolic molecular chaperone, can bind to and enhance the RNase activity of IRE1α, providing an important molecular link between the heat shock response and the ER stress response. Importantly, increased production of active XBP-1 was necessary for Hsp72 to exert its prosurvival effect under conditions of ER stress. Our results suggest a mechanism whereby Hsp72 overexpression helps cells adapt to long-term ER stress in vivo by enhancing the pro-survival effects of the IRE1α/XBP1 branch of the UPR.
PMCID: PMC2897763  PMID: 20625543
19.  Hepatic steatosis prevents heme oxygenase-1 induction by isoflurane in the rat liver 
AIM: To characterize the inductive effects of isoflurane (ISO) on hepatic heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) in an animal model of hepatic steatosis.
METHODS: Lean (LEAN) and obese (FAT) Zucker rats were randomized into 4 groups: 1: LEAN + pentobarbital sodium (PEN); 2: LEAN + ISO; 3: FAT + PEN; 4: FAT + ISO. The animals were mechanically ventilated for 6 h. In vitro analyses of liver tissue included determination of HO-1 mRNA and protein expression as well as measurement of HO enzyme activity and immunohistochemical analyses.
RESULTS: Compared to PEN treatment, ISO administration profoundly induced hepatic HO-1 mRNA and protein expression and significantly increased HO enzyme activity in lean Zucker rats. In contrast, no difference in HO-1 gene expression was observed after ISO or PEN anesthesia in obese Zucker rats.
CONCLUSION: The present study demonstrates that ISO is an inducer of hepatic HO-1 gene expression in non-steatotic organs but failed to upregulate HO-1 in steatotic livers.
PMCID: PMC3208362  PMID: 22072849
Isoflurane; Heme oxygenase; Hepatic steatosis; Heme oxygenase-1; Volatile anesthetics
20.  The use of the Papworth cocktail is detrimental to steatotic livers following ischemia/reperfusion injury 
Transplantation  2008;86(2):286-292.
Hormonal resuscitation, specifically administration of levothyroxine (T4) and methylprednisolone (steroid, i.e. the “T4 Protocol”) in organ transplant donors, is becoming increasingly used. Previous studies have shown that this maximizes the number of usable organs by reducing metabolic disturbances post-brain death. However, anecdotal evidence has shown that steatotic livers are adversely affected by this protocol. Therefore, we sought to investigate the hypothesis that the use of T4 and steroid is detrimental to steatotic livers in a model of total hepatic warm ischemia and reperfusion (I/R).
We subjected male 8–10 week old C57BL/6 and ob/ob mice to injections of T4 and steroid 48 hours prior to 15 minutes of total hepatic ischemia, followed by 24 hours of reperfusion.
We saw a significant decrease in survival in ob/ob animals given T4 and steroid as compared to single treated or vehicle-treated animals. This decrease in survival was accompanied by a dramatic increase in liver necrosis (as measured on a scale from 0–3) in these animals as compared to controls. Previous work in our lab has shown that UCP2 is a major mediator of I/R in steatotic animals, as it upsets normal energy homeostasis. Following with this hypothesis, we see a dramatic increase in UCP2 levels in the combination treated animals, which is accompanied by a concomitant decrease in ATP levels after reperfusion.
The T4 protocol is detrimental to steatotic livers subjected to I/R, likely due to a decreased ability to recover after reperfusion due to decreased ability to form ATP.
PMCID: PMC3960587  PMID: 18645492
Papworth; ischemia/reperfusion; liver; steatosis; UCP2
21.  Blood F2-isoprostanes are significantly associated with abnormalities of lipid status in rats with steatosis 
AIM: To investigate oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation in hepatic steatosis and the underlying implications in pathological mechanisms of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
METHODS: F2-isoprostanes (iPF2α-III) in blood and liver samples from steatotic (n = 9) and control (n = 7) rats were measured as in vivo marker of lipid peroxidation by a mass spectrometric approach. The lipid profile and endogenous antioxidant status (SOD and CAT) in the rats were also analyzed.
RESULTS: Significantly higher levels of iPF2α-III (mean 3.47 vs 2.40 pmol/mg tissue, P = 0.004) and lower activities of SOD (mean 1.26 U vs 1.40 U, P < 0.001) and CAT (mean 1026.36 U/mg vs 1149.68 U/mg protein, without significance) were observed in the livers of steatotic rats. Plasma total iPF2α-III was significantly correlated with the abnormalities of blood lipids as well as alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels in the rats with simple steatosis, whereas no similar tendencies were observed in the control rats.
CONCLUSION: Enhancement of hepatic oxidative imbalance occurring at the steatotic stage of NAFLD suggests a possibility that manifestation of the local oxidative damage precedes that of systemic oxidative imbalance. Predominant metabolic features of the increased lipid peroxidation further suggest a close association of the oxidative imbalance and the dyslipidemia with functional deterioration of the steatotic liver. The findings need to be further evaluated, especially in human studies.
PMCID: PMC2738793  PMID: 18698683
Isoprostanes; Oxidative stress; Lipid peroxidation; Steatosis; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
22.  Altered alkaline phosphatase activity in obese Zucker rats liver respect to lean Zucker and Wistar rats discussed in terms of all putative roles ascribed to the enzyme 
Biliary complications often lead to acute and chronic liver injury after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Bile composition and secretion depend on the integrated action of all the components of the biliary tree, starting from hepatocytes. Fatty livers are often discarded as grafts for OLT, since they are extremely vulnerable to conventional cold storage (CS). However, the insufficiency of donors has stimulated research to improve the usage of such marginal organs as well as grafts. Our group has recently developed a machine perfusion system at subnormothermic temperature (20°C; MP20) that allows a marked improvement in preservation of fatty and even of normal rat livers as compared with CS. We sought to evaluate the response of the biliary tree of fatty liver to MP20, and a suitable marker was essential to this purpose. Alkaline phosphatase (AlkP, EC, frequently used as marker of membrane transport in hepatocytes and bile ducts, was our first choice. Since no histochemical data were available on AlkP distribution and activity in fatty liver, we have first settled to investigate AlkP activity in the steatotic liver of fatty Zucker rats (fa/fa), using as controls lean Zucker (fa/+) and normal Wistar rats. The AlkP reaction in Wistar rats was in accordance with the existing data and, in particular, was present in bile canaliculi of hepatocytes in the periportal region and midzone, in the canals of Hering and in small bile ducts but not in large bile ducts. In lean ZR liver the AlkP reaction in Hering canals and small bile ducts was similar to Wistar rat liver but hepatocytes had lower canalicular activity and besides presented moderate basolateral reaction. The difference between lean Zucker and Wistar rats, both phenotypically normal animals, could be related to the fact that lean Zucker rats are genotypically heterozygous for a recessive mutated allele. In fatty liver, the activity in ductules and small bile ducts was unchanged, but most hepatocytes were devoid of AlkP activity with the exception of clusters of macrosteatotic hepatocytes in the mid-zone, where the reaction was intense in basolateral domains and in distorted canaliculi, a typical pattern of cholestasis. The interpretation of these data was hindered by the fact that the physiological role of AlkP is still under debate. In the present study, the various functions proposed for the role of the enzyme in bile canaliculi and in cholangiocytes are reviewed. Independently of the AlkP role, our data suggest that AlkP does not seem to be a reliable marker to study the initial step of bile production during OLT of fatty livers, but may still be used to investigate the behaviour of bile ductules and small bile ducts.
PMCID: PMC3167342  PMID: 21556120
biliary tract; alkaline phosphatase; fatty liver; cholestasis; bile canaliculi; hepatocytes; cholangiocytes.
23.  Cerulenin Blockade of Fatty Acid Synthase Reverses Hepatic Steatosis in ob/ob Mice 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e75980.
Fatty liver or hepatic steatosis is a common health problem associated with abnormal liver function and increased susceptibility to ischemia/reperfusion injury. The objective of this study was to investigate the effect of the fatty acid synthase inhibitor cerulenin on hepatic function in steatotic ob/ob mice. Different dosages of cerulenin were administered intraperitoneally to ob/ob mice for 2 to 7 days. Body weight, serum AST/ALT, hepatic energy state, and gene expression patterns in ob/ob mice were examined. We found that cerulenin treatment markedly improved hepatic function in ob/ob mice. Serum AST/ALT levels were significantly decreased and hepatic ATP levels increased in treated obese mice compared to obese controls, accompanied by fat depletion in the hepatocyte. Expression of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors α and γ and uncoupling protein 2 were suppressed with cerulenin treatment and paralleled changes in AST/ALT levels. Hepatic glutathione content were increased in some cases and apoptotic activity in the steatotic livers was minimally changed with cerulenin treatment. In conclusion, these results demonstrate that fatty acid synthase blockade constitutes a novel therapeutic strategy for altering hepatic steatosis at non-stressed states in obese livers.
PMCID: PMC3785413  PMID: 24086674
24.  The effects of exogenous l-carnitine on lipid peroxidation and tissue damage in an experimental warm hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury model* 
Background:l-Carnitine is the essential endogenous factor for the transport of long-chain fatty acids from the cytoplasm to within the mitochondrion where the β-oxidation process takes place. l-Carnitine is a superoxide scavenger and an antioxidant that possesses an anti-ischemic action and a stabilizing effect on cell membranes. It may be of help in liver ischemia reperfusion injury. Results regarding the effects of l-carnitine on liver ischemia and reperfusion injury are few and conflicting.
Objective: The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy of exogenous l-carnitine on lipid peroxidation and protecting liver at different stages of experimental total warm hepatic ischemia-reperfusion (TWHIR) procedure in rats.
Methods: This experimental study in healthy, weanling, male Wistar rats (weighing 180–200 g) was conducted at the Experimental Animal Research Laboratory of the Faculty of Medicine of Mersin University, Mersin, Turkey. Rats were randomly divided into 5 groups: (A) Control group; (B) TWHIR procedure only; (C) l-carnitine administered 2 hours before the TWHIR procedure; (D) l-carnitine administered just before the TWHIR procedure; and (E) l-carnitine administered after total warm hepatic ischemia but just before the reperfusion procedure. Total warm hepatic ischemia (via the Pringle maneuver) and reperfusion were performed for 45 and 30 minutes, respectively. l-Carnitine (200 mg/kg) was administered intravenously. At the end of each procedure a blood sample was drawn and total hepatectomy was performed following reperfusion. Malondialdehyde (MDA) and myeloperoxidase (MPO) levels of both plasma and liver tissue, total antioxidant capacity (TAOC), alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in plasma, and histopathologic examination were analyzed to assess lipid peroxidation and damage in liver tissue.
Results: Thirty-four rats (mean [SD]age, 59.26 [1.2]days; mean [SD] weight, 194.1 [5.1] g) were used in the study. There was a significant difference observed between groups A (n = 5) and B (n = 5) for all evaluation parameters. The TWHIR procedure performed in group B was associated with significant increases versus baseline in ALT, AST, MDA, and MPO in plasma, and MDA and MPO in liver tissue, but a significant decrease of TAOC in plasma. ALT, AST, serum and liver MDA, and MPO levels of group B were significantly higher than all groups administered l-carnitine. l-Carnitine administration between total warm hepatic ischemia and reperfusion was associated with a significant attenuation in all parameters. The liver MDA levels of groups C (n = 8) and D (n = 8) were significantly lower than that of group E (n = 8) (mean [SD]: C, 16.53 [3.32] and D, 18.28 [1.67] vs E, 23.05 [3.52]; P = 0.001 and P = 0.016, respectively). The mean (SD) liver MPO level of group C (1.09 [0.16]) was significantly lower than that of groups D (2.12 [0.25]) and E (2.11 [0.28]) (both, P = 0.001). The TAOC of group B (0.77 [0.12]) was significantly lower than that of groups C (1.34 [0.19]) and D (1.08 [0.20]) (P = 0.001 and P = 0.015, respectively). The TAOC of group C was significantly higher than that of the other l-carnitine groups (E, 0.94 [0.13]) (P = 0.023 vs group D; and P = 0.001 vs group E). Histopathologic scores of groups A, C, and E were significantly lower than that of group B, but the difference between groups B and D was not statistically significant.
Conclusions: In this experimental study, administration of exogenous l-carnitine was associated with significantly decreased lipid peroxidation in plasma and liver tissue when administered prior to a TWHIR procedure. In addition, l-carnitine seemed to be more effective with regard to decreasing lipid peroxidation in liver tissue when administered before warm hepatic ischemia. l-Carnitine was associated with significantly decreased leukocyte sequestration in plasma and liver tissue. A significant increase in TAOC was associated with l-carnitine administered prior to ischemia. These observations suggest that l-carnitine might have a protective effect against ischemia-reperfusion injury in rat liver tissue.
PMCID: PMC3965977  PMID: 24678117
l-carnitine; experimental; liver; ischemia; reperfusion
25.  The Effect of miRNA-122 in Regulating fat Deposition in a Cell Line Model† 
Journal of cellular biochemistry  2014;115(5):839-846.
Accumulating evidence supports the role of miR-122 in fatty liver disease. We investigated miR-122 expression in a steatotic hepatocyte model, the effect of miR-122 over-expression and inhibition in the pathogenesis. Human hepatic cell line L02 was induced with oleic acid to establish the steatotic hepatocyte model. Intracellular lipid content was observed with laser scanning confocal microscope (LSCM), and triglyceride content was determined with kits. Total RNA was extracted and reversely transcribed into cDNA. miR-122 expression was measured using qRT-PCR. Subsequently, miR-122 mimic and miR-122 inhibitor were transfected into steatotic hepatocytes to observe their effect on intracellular lipid content. The lipid fluorescence intensity and triglyceride content within the steatotic hepatocytes were significantly higher than those in normal control(860.01±26.52 vs 257.77±29.69 and 3.47±0.12 vs 1.85±0.02 at 24 hours) (p<0.01). miR-122 expression in steatotic hepatocytes was down-regulated compared with that in control (2−ΔCt value: 0.0286±0.0078 vs 0.0075±0.0012) (p<<0.01). After transfection, miR-122 expression (2−ΔCt value) in the miR-122 mimic group increased 2.96-fold compared with that in control, and its lipid fluorescence intensity was significantly lower than that in control(790.92±46.72 vs 1022.16±49.66)(p<0.01). Nevertheless, miR-122 expression decreased 3.45-fold in the miR-122 inhibitor group compared with that in control, and its fluorescence intensity was significantly higher than that in control (1386.49±40.34 vs 1022.16±49.66)(p<<0.01). We concluded that miR-122 was down-regulated in steatotic hepatocytes model. The pathogenesis of hepatocyte steatosis was enhanced by miR-122 mimic and reduced with miR-122 inhibitor.
PMCID: PMC3991241  PMID: 24288170
miR-122; Hepatocyte; Steatosis; Fatty liver disease

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