Toxicology and applied pharmacology

Carbon monoxide alleviates ethanol-induced oxidative damage and inflammatory stress through activating p38 MAPK pathway.

PMID 23994557


Stress-inducible protein heme oxygenase-1(HO-1) is well-appreciative to counteract oxidative damage and inflammatory stress involving the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver diseases (ALD). The potential role and signaling pathways of HO-1 metabolite carbon monoxide (CO), however, still remained unclear. To explore the precise mechanisms, ethanol-dosed adult male Balb/c mice (5.0g/ or ethanol-incubated primary rat hepatocytes (100mmol/L) were pretreated by tricarbonyldichlororuthenium (II) dimmer (CORM-2, 8mg/kg for mice or 20μmol/L for hepatocytes), as well as other pharmacological reagents. Our data showed that CO released from HO-1 induction by quercetin prevented ethanol-derived oxidative injury, which was abolished by CO scavenger hemoglobin. The protection was mimicked by CORM-2 with the attenuation of GSH depletion, SOD inactivation, MDA overproduction, and the leakage of AST, ALT or LDH in serum and culture medium induced by ethanol. Moreover, CORM-2 injection or incubation stimulated p38 phosphorylation and suppressed abnormal Tnfa and IL-6, accompanying the alleviation of redox imbalance induced by ethanol and aggravated by inflammatory factors. The protective role of CORM-2 was abolished by SB203580 (p38 inhibitor) but not by PD98059 (ERK inhibitor) or SP600125 (JNK inhibitor). Thus, HO-1 released CO prevented ethanol-elicited hepatic oxidative damage and inflammatory stress through activating p38 MAPK pathway, suggesting a potential therapeutic role of gaseous signal molecule on ALD induced by naturally occurring phytochemicals.