Prevention of ethanol-induced liver injury in rats by an agonist of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma, pioglitazone

Author(s): Enomoto N, Takei Y, Hirose M, Konno A, Shibuya T, et al.


Agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)-gamma have been shown to reduce tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-induced insulin resistance. On the other hand, sensitization of Kupffer cells to lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and their production of TNF-alpha are critical for progression of alcoholic liver injury. This study was intended to determine whether pioglitazone, a PPAR-gamma agonist, could prevent alcohol-induced liver injury. Rats were given ethanol (5 g/kg b.wt.) and pioglitazone (500 microg/kg) once every 24 h intragastrically. Ethanol for 8 weeks caused pronounced steatosis, necrosis, and inflammation in the liver. These pathological parameters were diminished greatly by pioglitazone. Kupffer cells were sensitized to LPS after ethanol for 4 weeks as evidenced by aggravation of liver pathology induced by LPS (5 mg/kg) and enhancement of LPS (100 ng/ml)-induced intracellular Ca2+ concentration elevation in Kupffer cells. The parameters were diminished by treatment with pioglitazone. LPS-induced TNF-alpha production by Kupffer cells from the 4-week ethanol group was 3 to 4 times higher than control. This increase was blunted by 70% with pioglitazone. Gut permeability was 10-fold higher in the 4-week ethanol group, and pioglitazone treatment did not change the value. Inclusion of TNF-alpha in culture media of Kupffer cells enhanced CD14 expression, LPS-induced intracellular Ca2+ concentration response, and production of TNF-alpha. These results indicate that pioglitazone prevents alcoholic liver injury through abrogation of Kupffer cell sensitization to LPS.

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