Research Papers: Pathology:

Ischemic preconditioning attenuates ischemia/reperfusion injury in rat steatotic liver: role of heme oxygenase-1-mediated autophagy

Anding Liu, Enshuang Guo, Jiankun Yang, Renlong Li, Yan Yang, Shenpei Liu, Jifa Hu, Xiaojing Jiang, Olaf Dirsch, Uta Dahmen, Jian Sun and Mingwen Ouyang _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:78372-78386. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.13281

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Anding Liu1,2, Enshuang Guo3, Jiankun Yang1, Renlong Li3, Yan Yang1, Shenpei Liu1, Jifa Hu1, Xiaojing Jiang3, Olaf Dirsch2, Uta Dahmen2, Jian Sun4 and Mingwen Ouyang5

1 Experimental Medicine Center, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan, China

2 Experimental Transplantation Surgery, Department of General, Visceral and Vascular Surgery, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Jena, Germany

3 Department of Infectious Diseases, Wuhan General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, Wuhan, China

4 Department of Biliopancreatic Surgery, Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou, China

5 Department of Anesthesiology, The Fifth Affiliated Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China

Correspondence to:

Mingwen Ouyang, email:

Keywords: ischemic preconditioning; steatosis; liver ischemia/reperfusion injury; autophagy; heme oxygenase-1, Pathology Section

Received: April 25, 2016 Accepted: November 02, 2016 Published: November 10, 2016


Steatotic livers are more susceptible to ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, which is ameliorated by ischemic preconditioning (IPC). Autophagy possesses protective action on liver I/R injury and declines in steatotic livers. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that the increased susceptibility of steatotic livers to I/R injury was associated with defective hepatic autophagy, which could be restored by IPC via heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) signaling. Obesity and hepatic steatosis was induced using a high fat diet. Obesity impaired hepatic autophagy activity and decreased hepatic HO-1 expression. Induction of HO-1 restored autophagy activity and inhibited calpain 2 activity. Additionally, suppression of calpain 2 activity also restored autophagy activity. Mitochondrial dysfunction and hepatocellular injury were significantly increased in steatotic livers compared to lean livers in response to I/R injury. This increase in sensitivity to I/R injury was associated with defective hepatic autophagy activity in steatotic livers. IPC increased autophagy and reduced mitochondrial dysfunction and hepatocellular damage in steatotic livers following I/R injury. Furthermore, IPC increased HO-1 expression. Inhibition of HO-1 decreased the IPC-induced autophagy, increased calpain 2 activity and diminished the protective effect of IPC against I/R injury. Inhibition of calpain 2 restored autophagic defect and attenuated mitochondrial dysfunction in steatotic livers after I/R. Collectively, IPC might ameliorate steatotic liver damage and restore mitochondrial function via HO-1-mediated autophagy.

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