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

Protective role of heme oxygenase-1 in the intestinal tissue injury in an experimental model of sepsis.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to examine the role of heme oxygenase-1 induction in the intestinal tissue injury in a rat model of sepsis. DESIGN: Randomized, masked, controlled animal study. SETTING: University-based animal research facility. SUBJECTS: Sprague-Dawley male rats, weighing 220-250 g (n = 126). INTERVENTIONS: Rats were injected with lipopolysaccharide (10 mg/kg) intraperitoneally. Another group of rats was injected with interleukin-6 (10 microg/kg) intravenously. In some rats, tin mesoporphyrin (1 micromol/kg) was administered intravenously 1 hr before lipopolysaccharide treatment. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS: Following lipopolysaccharide treatment, expression of heme oxygenase-1 and nonspecific delta-aminolevulinate synthase (ALAS-N), the rate-limiting enzymes of heme catabolism and biosynthesis, respectively, was examined in various regions of the intestine. Lipopolysaccharide treatment markedly increased heme oxygenase-1 messenger RNA and protein concentrations in the mucosal epithelial cells in the duodenum and the jejunum, whereas its expression in the ileum and the colon was hardly detectable and was not influenced by the treatment. ALAS-N messenger RNA was also more markedly increased in the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum than in the colon following lipopolysaccharide treatment. Interleukin-6 administration also induced heme oxygenase-1 and ALAS-N gene expression in a pattern similar to that following lipopolysaccharide treatment. In contrast to the marked heme oxygenase-1 expression in the upper intestine, lipopolysaccharide-induced mucosal injury and inflammation in the upper intestine were far less than observed in the lower intestine as judged both by tumor necrosis factor-alpha gene expression and by histologic analysis. Of note, inhibition of heme oxygenase activity by tin mesoporphyrin produced a significant tissue injury in the upper intestine of the lipopolysaccharide-treated animals. CONCLUSIONS: Intestinal heme oxygenase-1 and ALAS-N gene expression was regulated in a site-specific manner in a rat model of sepsis. Our findings also suggest that heme oxygenase-1 induction may play a fundamental role in protecting mucosal epithelial cells of the intestine from oxidative damages that occur in sepsis.[1]


  1. Protective role of heme oxygenase-1 in the intestinal tissue injury in an experimental model of sepsis. Fujii, H., Takahashi, T., Nakahira, K., Uehara, K., Shimizu, H., Matsumi, M., Morita, K., Hirakawa, M., Akagi, R., Sassa, S. Crit. Care Med. (2003) [Pubmed]
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