Activation of nuclear factor kappa B and cytokine imbalance in experimental alcoholic liver disease in the rat



Inflammatory stimuli and lipid peroxidation activate nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) and upregulate proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. The present study evaluated the relationship between pathological liver injury, endotoxemia, lipid peroxidation, and NF-κB activation and imbalance between pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. Rats (5 per group) were fed ethanol and a diet containing saturated fat, palm oil, corn oil, or fish oil by intragastric infusion. Dextrose isocalorically replaced ethanol in control rats. Pathological analysis was performed and measurements of endotoxin were taken, lipid peroxidation, NF-κB, and messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of proinflammatory cytokines (tumor necrosis factor-α [TNFα], interleukin-1 β [IL-1β], interferon-γ, [IFN-γ], and IL-12), C-C chemokines (regulated upon activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted [RANTES], monocyte chemotactic protein [MCP]-1, macrophage inflammatory protein [MIP]-1α), C-X-C chemokines (cytokine induced neutrophil chemoattractant (CINC), MIP-2, IP-10, and epithelial neutrophil activating protein [ENA]-78), and anti-inflammatory cytokines (IL-10, IL-4, and IL-13). Activation of NF-κB and increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines C-C and C-X-C chemokines was seen in the rats exhibiting necroinflammatory injury (fish oil–ethanol [FE] and corn oil–ethanol[CE]). These groups also had the highest levels of endotoxin and lipid peroxidation. Levels of IL-10 and IL-4 mRNA were lower in the group exhibiting inflammatory liver injury. Thus, activation of NF-κB occurs in the presence of proinflammatory stimuli and results in increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines. The Kupffer cell is probably the major cell type showing activation of NF-κB although the contribution of endothelial cells and hepatocytes cannot be excluded. Downregulation of anti-inflammatory cytokines may additionally exacerbate liver injury.