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Keywords:

  • AMPK ;
  • autophagy;
  • cold ischemia/reperfusion injury;
  • ER stress;
  • IGL-1 preservation solution;
  • melatonin;
  • steatotic liver;
  • trimetazidine

Abstract

Ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) associated with liver transplantation plays an important role in the induction of graft injury. Prolonged cold storage remains a risk factor for liver graft outcome, especially when steatosis is present. Steatotic livers exhibit exacerbated endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress that occurs in response to cold IRI. In addition, a defective liver autophagy correlates well with liver damage. Here, we evaluated the combined effect of melatonin and trimetazidine as additives to IGL-1 solution in the modulation of ER stress and autophagy in steatotic liver grafts through activation of AMPK. Steatotic livers were preserved for 24 hr (4°C) in UW or IGL-1 solutions with or without MEL + TMZ and subjected to 2-hr reperfusion (37°C). We assessed hepatic injury (ALT and AST) and function (bile production). We evaluated ER stress (GRP78, PERK, and CHOP) and autophagy (beclin-1, ATG7, LC3B, and P62). Steatotic livers preserved in IGL-1 + MEL + TMZ showed lower injury and better function as compared to those preserved in IGL-1 alone. IGL-1 + MEL + TMZ induced a significant decrease in GRP78, pPERK, and CHOP activation after reperfusion. This was consistent with a major activation of autophagic parameters (beclin-1, ATG7, and LC3B) and AMPK phosphorylation. The inhibition of AMPK induced an increase in ER stress and a significant reduction in autophagy. These data confirm the close relationship between AMPK activation and ER stress and autophagy after cold IRI. The addition of melatonin and TMZ to IGL-1 solution improved steatotic liver graft preservation through AMPK activation, which reduces ER stress and increases autophagy.