Research Papers: Pathology:

Signaling through hepatocyte vasopressin receptor 1 protects mouse liver from ischemia-reperfusion injury

Xiqiang Liu, Gaojian Luo, Jingbo Jiang, Tonghui Ma, Xiaozhu Lin, Liping Jiang, Jilin Cheng and Ran Tao _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:69276-69290. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.12472

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Xiqiang Liu1,*, Gaojian Luo2,*, Jingbo Jiang3, Tonghui Ma1, Xiaozhu Lin4, Liping Jiang1, Jilin Cheng5 and Ran Tao1

1 Department of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic Surgery, Zhejiang Provincial People’s Hospital (ZJPPH), Hangzhou, Zhejiang, PR China

2 Department of General Surgery, Affiliated Yiwu Hospital, Wenzhou Medical University, Yiwu, Zhejiang, PR China

3 Department of Surgery, Qilu Hospital, Shandong University School of Medicine, Jinan, Shandong, PR China

4 Department of Radiology, Ruijin Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, PR China

5 Department of Gastroenterology, Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, Fudan University, Shanghai, PR China

* These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Ran Tao, email:

Keywords: apoptosis, hepatocyte, hypoxia, inflammation, vasopressin receptor, Pathology Section

Received: August 05, 2016 Accepted: September 29, 2016 Published: October 04, 2016


Terlipressin has been used extensively in the management of certain complications associated with end-stage liver diseases (ESLDs). In our pilot study, terlipressin treatment showed beneficial effects on liver function in patients with decompensated cirrhosis, however whether it plays a role in liver ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) remains unknown. Using a mouse nonlethal hepatic IR model, we found terlipressin administration significantly ameliorated IR-induced liver apoptosis, necrosis and inflammation. Furthermore, despite its known effect on visceral vasoconstriction, hemodynamic evaluation of murine hepatic tissue after IR revealed no change of overall hepatic blood flow after terlipressin treatment. Further studies identified the upregulation of vasopressin receptor 1 (V1R) expression on hepatocytes upon IR. In isolated hepatocyte hypoxia/reoxygenation model, the active component of terlipressin, lysine vasopressin, conferred hepatocytes resistant to oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Mechanistic studies revealed the V1R engagement activated the Wnt/β-catenin/FoxO3a/AKT pathway, which subsequently circumvented the proapoptotic events, thus ameliorated hepatocyte apoptosis. Furthermore, genetic knockdown of V1R expression in hepatocyte cell lines or blockade of this signaling pathway abrogated such protective effect. Conclusion: These data highlight the functional importance of the hepatocyte V1R/Wnt/β-catenin/FoxO3a/AKT pathway in protecting liver from oxidative stress-induced injury.

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