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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Transcriptional activation of heme oxygenase-1 and its functional significance in acetaminophen-induced hepatitis and hepatocellular injury in the rat.

BACKGROUND/AIM: Glutathione depletion contributes to acetaminophen hepatotoxicity and is known to induce the oxidative stress reactant heme oxygenase-1. The metabolites of the heme oxygenase pathway, biliverdin, carbon monoxide, and iron may modulate acetaminophen toxicity. The aim of this study was to assess cell-type specific expression of heme oxygenase-1 and its impact on liver injury and microcirculatory disturbances in a model of acetaminophen-induced hepatitis. METHODS: Gene expression of heme oxygenase-1 was studied by Northern- and Western analysis as well as immunohistochemistry. The time course of heme oxygenase-1 and -2, cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1, and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 was studied by Northern analysis. DNA-binding activity of nuclear factor-kappaB was determined by electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Sinusoidal perfusion and leukocyte-endothelial interactions were assessed by intravital microscopy. RESULTS: Acetaminophen caused a moderate sinusoidal perfusion failure (-15%) and infiltration of neutrophils along with activation of nuclear factor-kappaB and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 and cytokine-induced neutrophil chemoattractant-1 mRNAs. Induction of heme oxygenase-1 mRNA and protein (approximately 30-fold) in hepatocytes and non-parenchymal cells paralleled the inflammatory response. Blockade of heme oxygenase activity with tin-protoporphyrin-IX abrogated acetaminophen-induced hepatic neutrophil accumulation and nuclear factor-kappaB activation, but failed to affect sinusoidal perfusion and liver injury. CONCLUSIONS: The inflammatory response associated with acetaminophen hepatotoxicity is modulated by the parallel induction of the heme oxygenase-1 gene. However, heme oxygenase-1 has no permissive effect on sinusoidal perfusion and does not affect liver injury in this model. These data argue against a central role of nuclear factor-kappaB activation and neutrophil infiltration as perpetuating factors of liver injury in acetaminophen toxicity.[1]


  1. Transcriptional activation of heme oxygenase-1 and its functional significance in acetaminophen-induced hepatitis and hepatocellular injury in the rat. Bauer, I., Vollmar, B., Jaeschke, H., Rensing, H., Kraemer, T., Larsen, R., Bauer, M. J. Hepatol. (2000) [Pubmed]
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