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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2005 Feb;288(2):G396-402. Epub 2004 Oct 7.

Cathepsin B inactivation attenuates hepatocyte apoptosis and liver damage in steatotic livers after cold ischemia-warm reperfusion injury.

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  • 1Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, 200 First St. SW, Rochester, Minnesota 55905, USA.


Hepatic steatosis predisposes the liver to cold ischemia-warm reperfusion (CI/WR) injury by unclear mechanisms. Because hepatic steatosis has recently been associated with a lysosomal pathway of apoptosis, our aim was to determine whether this cell-death pathway contributes to CI/WR injury of steatotic livers. Wild-type and cathepsin B-knockout (Ctsb(-/-)) mice were fed the methionine/choline-deficient (MCD) diet for 2 wk to induce hepatic steatosis. Mouse livers were stored in the University of Wisconsin solution for 24 h at 4 degrees C and reperfused for 1 h at 37 degrees C in vitro. Immunofluorescence analysis of the lysosomal enzymes cathepsin B and D showed a punctated intracellular pattern consistent with lysosomal localization in wild-type mice fed a standard diet after CI/WR injury. In contrast, cathepsin B and D fluorescence became diffuse in livers from wild-type mice fed MCD diet after CI/WR, indicating that lysosomal permeabilization had occurred. Hepatocyte apoptosis was rare in both normal and steatotic livers in the absence of CI/WR injury but increased in wild-type mice fed an MCD diet and subjected to CI/WR injury. In contrast, hepatocyte apoptosis and liver damage were reduced in Ctsb(-/-) and cathepsin B inhibitor-treated mice fed the MCD diet following CI/WR injury. In conclusion, these findings support a prominent role for the lysosomal pathway of apoptosis in steatotic livers following CI/WR injury.

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