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Gut. 2000 Oct;47(4):553-62.

TNF-alpha dependent production of inducible nitric oxide is involved in PGE(1) protection against acute liver injury.

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  • 1Servicio Aparato Digestivo, Hospital Universitario Reina Sofía, Córdoba, España.



Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) and nitric oxide modulate damage in several experimental models of liver injury. We have previously shown that protection against D-galactosamine (D-GalN) induced liver injury by prostaglandin E(1) (PGE(1)) was accompanied by an increase in TNF-alpha and nitrite/nitrate in serum.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate the role of TNF-alpha and nitric oxide during protection by PGE(1) of liver damage induced by D-GalN.


Liver injury was induced in male Wistar rats by intraperitoneal injection of 1 g/kg of D-GalN. PGE(1) was administered 30 minutes before D-GalN. Inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) was inhibited by methylisothiourea (MT), and TNF-alpha concentration in serum was lowered by administration of anti-TNF-alpha antibodies. Liver injury was evaluated by alanine aminotransferase activity in serum, and histological examination and DNA fragmentation in liver. TNF-alpha and nitrite/nitrate concentrations were determined in serum. Expression of TNF-alpha and iNOS was also assessed in liver sections.


PGE(1) decreased liver injury and increased TNF-alpha and nitrite/nitrate concentrations in serum of rats treated with D-GalN. PGE(1) protection was related to enhanced expression of TNF-alpha and iNOS in hepatocytes. Administration of anti-TNF-alpha antibodies or MT blocked the protection by PGE(1) of liver injury induced by D-GalN.


This study suggests that prior administration of PGE(1) to D-GalN treated animals enhanced expression of TNF-alpha and iNOS in hepatocytes, and that this was causally related to protection by PGE(1) against D-GalN induced liver injury.

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