Scientific publications

Cardiotrophin-1 is an essential factor in the natural defense of the liver against apoptosis

Mar 1, 2007 | Magazine: Hepatology

Marquès JM, Belza I, Holtmann B, Pennica D, Prieto J, Bustos M.
Center for Applied Medical Research (CIMA), University of Navarra, Pamplona, Navarra, Spain.

We previously reported that exogenous cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), a member of the IL-6 family of cytokines, exerts hepatoprotective effects. Because CT-1 is expressed in the normal liver, we hypothesized that this cytokine may constitute an endogenous defense of the liver against proapoptotic stimuli.

Here, we found that CT-1-/- mice died faster than wild-type animals after challenge with a lethal dose of the Fas agonist Jo-2. At sublethal doses of Jo-2, all wild-type mice survived whereas CT-1-/- animals developed extensive hepatocyte apoptosis with 50% mortality at 24 hours. Pretreatment with CT-1 improved survival and reduced injury in both CT-1-/- and wild-type animals. Upon Fas ligation the activation of STAT-3, a molecule that defends the liver against apoptosis, was lower in CT-1-/- mice than in wild-type animals despite similar IL-6 up-regulation in the 2 groups.

Analysis of liver transcriptome in CT-1-/- and wild-type mice showed that 9 genes reported to be associated with cell survival/death functions were differentially expressed in the 2 groups. Four of these genes [IGFBP1, peroxiredoxin3, TNFR1, and calpastatin (endogenous inhibitor of calpain)] could be validated by real-time PCR. All of them were down-regulated in CT-1-/- mice and were modulated by CT-1 administration. Treatment of CT-1-/- animals with the calpain inhibitor MDL28170 afforded significant protection against Fas-induced liver injury.

CT-1-/- mice are highly sensitive to Fas-mediated apoptosis due in part to deficient STAT-3 activation and inadequate control of calpain activity during the apoptotic process. Our data show that CT-1 is a natural defense of the liver against apoptosis. This cytokine may have therapeutic potential.

CITATION  Hepatology. 2007 Mar;45(3):639-48