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Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2006 Jan;18(1):21-9.

Apoptosis and Bcl-2 expression in the livers of patients with steatohepatitis.

Author information

  • 1Centro de PatogĂ©nese Molecular, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Lisbon and Department of Gastroenterology, Hospital of Santa Maria, Lisbon, Portugal.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Apoptosis may play a role in the pathogenesis of alcoholic (ASH) and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In this study, we investigated the modulation of apoptosis-related liver proteins in steatohepatitis.

METHODS:

Hepatocyte apoptosis was evaluated by the TUNEL assay in liver tissue of 12 patients with NASH, 12 with ASH and in histologically normal controls. In addition, caspase-3 processing was evaluated by immunoblot analysis. Expression of death receptors, Bcl-2 family members, and NF-kappaB inhibitor (IkappaB) were determined by western blot. Liver biopsies were also graded for inflammation and fibrosis.

RESULTS:

Apoptotic hepatocytes were markedly increased in NASH (P<0.05) and ASH (P<0.001) as compared to controls. Active caspase-3 was also elevated in steatohepatitis (P<0.01), coinciding with upregulation of pro-apoptotic Bax (P<0.001). Further, production of tumour necrosis factor-receptor 1 was increased up to 4-fold (P<0.05). Degradation of IkappaB increased >70% in steatohepatitis (P<0.001). Notably, Bcl-2 was also strongly expressed (>100-fold; P<0.001). These data were significantly correlated with relative degrees of portal and lobular inflammation.

CONCLUSION:

The results show that liver injury in NASH and ASH is associated with apoptosis and NF-kappaB activation. Anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 is strongly expressed, probably reflecting an adaptive response to obesity or alcohol-related stress.

PMID:
16357615
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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