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J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Nov;22(11):2022-33.

Rho/Rho kinase is a key enzyme system involved in the angiotensin II signaling pathway of liver fibrosis and steatosis.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine, School of Medicine, Keio University, Tokyo, Japan.

Erratum in

  • J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2007 Oct;22(10):1697.

Abstract

BACKGROUND AND AIM:

The molecular mechanisms underlying the involvement of the renin-angiotensin system in hepatic fibrosis are unclear. Recently, it was reported that a Rho kinase inhibitor prevented fibrosis of various tissues and that the Rho/Rho kinase pathway was involved in the renin-angiotensin system of vascular smooth muscle cells. In this study, the involvement of the Rho/Rho kinase pathway on angiotensin II signaling in liver fibrogenesis and generation of steatosis was investigated.

METHODS:

Rats were fed a choline-deficient/L-amino acid-defined (CDAA) diet continuously and treated with a Rho kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, and an angiotensin II receptor blocker, TCV-116. Liver histology and hepatic stellate cell activation were analyzed. Free radical production was detected by 4-hydroxynonenal and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine immunostaining and the expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha was examined. Isolated hepatic stellate cells were pretreated with a Rho kinase inhibitor, Y-27632, or an angiotensin II receptor blocker, CV-11974, and stimulated with angiotensin II, and mRNA expression of transforming growth factor-beta and alpha-smooth muscle actin was analyzed.

RESULTS:

Both the angiotensin II receptor blocker and the Rho kinase inhibitor improved fibrosis and steatosis of the liver in CDAA-fed rats. The increase in the number of hepatocytes positive for 4-hydroxynonenal and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine in CDAA-fed rats was significantly prevented by the angiotensin II receptor blocker and the Rho kinase inhibitor. The levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha mRNA in the liver of CDAA-fed rats were significantly increased and this increase was significantly inhibited by treatment with the angiotensin II receptor blocker and the Rho kinase inhibitor. mRNA expression of transforming growth factor-beta and alpha-smooth muscle actin stimulated by angiotensin II was also significantly suppressed by these two drugs.

CONCLUSION:

These results suggest that the Rho/Rho kinase pathway is at least partly involved in the renin-angiotensin system and plays an important role in hepatic fibrosis and steatosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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