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J Surg Res. 2010 Sep;163(1):146-54. doi: 10.1016/j.jss.2010.04.024. Epub 2010 May 10.

Treatment with histone deacetylase inhibitor attenuates MAP kinase mediated liver injury in a lethal model of septic shock.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Division of Trauma, Emergency Surgery and Surgical Critical Care, Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02114, USA.



Despite global efforts to improve the treatment of sepsis, it remains a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in intensive care units. We have previously shown that suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA), a histone deacetylase inhibitor, markedly improves survival in a murine model of lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced shock. SAHA has anti-inflammatory properties that have not been fully characterized. The liver plays an important role in the production of acute phase reactants involved in the inflammatory cascade and is also one of the major organs that can become dysfunctional in septic shock. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of SAHA treatment on MAP kinases and associated inflammatory markers in murine liver after LPS-induced injury.


C57B1/6J mice were randomly divided into three groups: (A) experimental-given intraperitoneal (i.p.) SAHA (50 mg/kg) in dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) vehicle solution (n = 12); (B) control- given vehicle only (n = 12), and; (C) sham-given no treatment (n = 7). Two hours later, experimental and control mice were injected with LPS (20 mg/kg, i.p.) and experimental mice received a second dose of SAHA. Livers were harvested at 3, 24, and 48 h for analysis of inflammatory markers using Western Blot, Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) techniques.


After 3 h, the livers of animals treated with SAHA showed significantly (P < 0.05) decreased expression of the pro-inflammatory MAP kinases phosphorylated p38, phosphorylated ERK, myeloperoxidase and interleukin-6, and increased levels of the anti-inflammatory interleukin-10 compared with controls. Phospho-p38 expression remained low in the SAHA treated groups at 24 and 48 h.


Administration of SAHA is associated with attenuation of MAPK activation and alteration of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory markers in murine liver after a lethal LPS insult. The suppression of MAPK activity is rapid (within 3 h), and is sustained for up to 48 h post-treatment. These results may in part account for the improvement in survival shown in this model.

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