Exogenous thioredoxin prevents ethanol-induced oxidative damage and apoptosis in mouse liver


  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.


Ethanol-induced liver injury is characterized by increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inflammatory cytokines, resulting in the development of hepatic steatosis, injury, and cell death by necrosis and apoptosis. Thioredoxin (Trx), a potent antioxidant and antiinflammatory molecule with antiapoptotic properties, protects animals from a number of inflammatory diseases. However, the effects of ethanol on Trx or its role in ethanol-induced liver injury are not known. Female C57BL/6 mice were allowed ad libitum access to a Lieber-deCarli ethanol diet with 5.4% of calories as ethanol for 2 days to acclimate them to the diet, followed by 2 days with 32.4% of calories as ethanol or pair-fed control diet. Hepatic Trx-1 was decreased by ethanol feeding; daily supplementation with recombinant human Trx (rhTrx) prevented this ethanol-induced decrease. Therefore, we tested the hypothesis that administration of rhTrx during ethanol exposure would attenuate ethanol-induced oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine production, and apoptosis. Mice were treated with a daily intraperitoneal injection of either 5 g/kg of rhTrx or phosphate-buffered saline (PBS). Conclusion: Ethanol feeding increased accumulation of hepatic 4-hydroxynonenal protein adducts, expression of hepatic tumor necrosis factor α, and resulted in hepatic steatosis and increased plasma aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase. In ethanol-fed mice, treatment with rhTrx reduced 4-hydroxynonenal adduct accumulation, inflammatory cytokine expression, decreased hepatic triglyceride, and improved liver enzyme profiles. Ethanol feeding also increased transferase-mediated dUTP-biotin nick-end labeling-positive cells, caspase-3 activity, and cytokeratin-18 staining in the liver. rhTrx treatment prevented these increases. In summary, rhTrx attenuated ethanol-induced increases in markers of oxidative stress, inflammatory cytokine expression, and apoptosis. (HEPATOLOGY 2009.)