Therapeutic effects of cytokine modulator Y-40138 in the rat alcoholic liver disease model


Dr Tatsuhiro Tsujimoto, Third Department of Internal Medicine, Nara Medical University, 840 Shijo-cho, Kashihara, Nara 634–8522, Japan. Email:


Background and Aim:  Inflammatory cytokines, such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and interferon-gamma (IFN-γ), induce liver injury in the rat alcoholic liver disease (ALD) model. Y-40138 is known to suppress the pro-inflammatory cytokines and augment the anti-inflammatory cytokines. We investigated whether or not Y-40138 may be effective as a novel immunotherapy in the rat ALD model.

Methods:  Male Wistar rats were fed Lieber-DeCarli ethanol liquid diet. The effects of Y-40138 treatment in the ALD models were assessed by analyzing the serum and the liver tissues.

Results:  The serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), TNF-α, and IFN-γ, and the liver levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ were significantly higher in the ethanol-fed group than in the pair-fed group. The immunohistochemistry of the liver TNF-α and 4-hydroxynonenal (4HNE), and the expressions of TNF-α and IFN-γ mRNA were increased, too. The gene expressions of interleukin-10 (IL-10) in the ethanol-fed group were suppressed as compared with the pair-fed group. The serum triglyceride (TG) and liver TG were increased, and Oil Red O and α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) staining showed greater expression by ethanol-fed feeding. After administration of Y-40138, enzyme linked immunosorbent assay and real-time polymerase chain reaction of the liver showed that the increased TNF-α and IFN-γ were suppressed, and that IL-10 was augmented. Moreover, ethanol-induced lipid accumulation in the liver was suppressed by administering Y-40138.

Conclusions:  Y-40138 decreased the inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress, and lipid synthesis, and augmented the anti-inflammatory cytokines of the liver. These results indicate that the multiple cytokine production modulator, Y-40138, is a promising novel therapy for ALD.