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Hepatology. 2004 Nov;40(5):1128-35.

Cooperative effect of biliverdin and carbon monoxide on survival of mice in immune-mediated liver injury.

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Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, Erlangen, Germany.


Induction of the heme-degrading enzyme heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) has been shown to be beneficial in terms of improvement of liver allograft survival and prevention of CD95-mediated apoptosis in the liver. In the present study, we investigated the effects of HO-1, and its products carbon monoxide (CO), biliverdin (BV), and iron/ferritin, in a mouse model of inflammatory liver damage inducible by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) in mice sensitized with the hepatocyte-specific transcription inhibitor D-galactosamine (GalN). Our results show that HO-1 induction by cobalt-protoporphyrin-IX (CoPP) reduced cytokine expression, protected mice from liver injury, and prolonged survival. While in contrast to ferritin overexpression, single administration of the CO donor methylene chloride (MC) or of BV also protected mice from liver damage, only coadministration of both HO products prolonged survival and reduced the expression of cytokines, e.g., tumor necrosis factor (TNF) and interferon gamma (IFN-gamma). In conclusion, HO-1-induced prolongation of survival, but not the protection from liver damage, seems to be dependent on down-regulation of cytokine synthesis.

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