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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2010 Jul;246(1-2):8-17. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2010.04.015. Epub 2010 Apr 25.

c-Jun N-terminal kinase modulates oxidant stress and peroxynitrite formation independent of inducible nitric oxide synthase in acetaminophen hepatotoxicity.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Therapeutics, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA.


Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose, which causes liver injury in animals and humans, activates c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Although it was shown that the JNK inhibitor SP600125 effectively reduced APAP hepatotoxicity, the mechanisms of protection remain unclear. C57Bl/6 mice were treated with 10mg/kg SP600125 or vehicle (8% dimethylsulfoxide) 1h before 600mg/kg APAP administration. APAP time-dependently induced JNK activation (detected by JNK phosphorylation). SP600125, but not the vehicle, reduced JNK activation, attenuated mitochondrial Bax translocation and prevented the mitochondrial release of apoptosis-inducing factor at 4-12h. Nuclear DNA fragmentation, nitrotyrosine staining, tissue GSSG levels and liver injury (plasma ALT release and necrosis) were partially attenuated by the vehicle (-65%) and completely eliminated by SP600125 (-98%) at 6 and 12h. Furthermore, SP600125 attenuated the increase of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) mRNA and protein. However, APAP did not enhance plasma nitrite+nitrate levels (NO formation); SP600125 had no effect on this parameter. The iNOS inhibitor L-NIL did not reduce NO formation or injury after APAP but prevented NO formation caused by endotoxin. Since SP600125 completely eliminated the increase in hepatic GSSG levels, an indicator of mitochondrial oxidant stress, it is concluded that the inhibition of peroxynitrite was mainly caused by reduced superoxide formation. Our data suggest that the JNK inhibitor SP600125 protects against APAP-induced liver injury in part by attenuation of mitochondrial Bax translocation but mainly by preventing mitochondrial oxidant stress and peroxynitrite formation and thereby preventing the mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening, a key event in APAP-induced cell necrosis.

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