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Hepatology. 2014 Apr;59(4):1543-54. doi: 10.1002/hep.26625. Epub 2014 Mar 3.

Protein kinase C (PKC) participates in acetaminophen hepatotoxicity through c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK)-dependent and -independent signaling pathways.

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  • 1University of Southern California Research Center for Liver Diseases, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA.


This study examines the role of protein kinase C (PKC) and AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) in acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity. Treatment of primary mouse hepatocytes with broad-spectrum PKC inhibitors (Ro-31-8245, Go6983), protected against APAP cytotoxicity despite sustained c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation. Broad-spectrum PKC inhibitor treatment enhanced p-AMPK levels and AMPK regulated survival-energy pathways including autophagy. AMPK inhibition by compound C or activation using an AMPK activator oppositely modulated APAP cytotoxicity, suggesting that p-AMPK and AMPK regulated energy survival pathways, particularly autophagy, play a critical role in APAP cytotoxicity. Ro-31-8245 treatment in mice up-regulated p-AMPK levels, increased autophagy (i.e., increased LC3-II formation, p62 degradation), and protected against APAP-induced liver injury, even in the presence of sustained JNK activation and translocation to mitochondria. In contrast, treatment of hepatocytes with a classical PKC inhibitor (Go6976) protected against APAP by inhibiting JNK activation. Knockdown of PKC-α using antisense (ASO) in mice also protected against APAP-induced liver injury by inhibiting JNK activation. APAP treatment resulted in PKC-α translocation to mitochondria and phosphorylation of mitochondrial PKC substrates. JNK 1 and 2 silencing in vivo decreased APAP-induced PKC-α translocation to mitochondria, suggesting PKC-α and JNK interplay in a feed-forward mechanism to mediate APAP-induced liver injury.


PKC-α and other PKC(s) regulate death (JNK) and survival (AMPK) proteins, to modulate APAP-induced liver injury.

Copyright © 2014 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.

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[Available on 2015/4/1]

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