Mitigation of autophagy ameliorates hepatocellular damage following ischemia-reperfusion injury in murine steatotic liver

Nitika A. Gupta*, Vasantha L. Kolachala, Rong Jiang, Carlos Abramowsky, Asha Shenoi, Astrid Kosters, Haritha Pavuluri, Frank Anania, Allan D. Kirk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a common clinical consequence of hepatic surgery, cardiogenic shock, and liver transplantation. A steatotic liver is particularly vulnerable to IRI, responding with extensive hepatocel-lular injury. Autophagy, a lysosomal pathway balancing cell survival and cell death, is engaged in IRI, although its role in IRI of a steatotic liver is unclear. The role of autophagy was investigated in high-fat diet (HFD)-fed mice exposed to IRI in vivo and in steatotic hepato-cytes exposed to hypoxic IRI (HIRI) in vitro. Two inhibitors of autophagy, 3-methyladenine and bafilomycin A1, protected the stea-totic hepatocytes from HIRI. Exendin 4 (Ex4), a glucagon-like peptide 1 analog, also led to suppression of autophagy, as evidenced by decreased autophagy-associated proteins [microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC3) II, p62, high-mobility group protein B1, beclin-1, and autophagy-related protein 7], reduced hepatocellular damage, and improved mitochondrial structure and function in HFD-fed mice exposed to IRI. Decreased autophagy was further demonstrated by reversal of a punctate pattern of LC3 and decreased autophagic flux after IRI in HFD-fed mice. Under the same conditions, the effects of Ex4 were reversed by the competitive antagonist exendin 9-39. The present study suggests that, in IRI of hepatic steatosis, treatment of hepatocytes with Ex4 mitigates autophagy, ameliorates hepatocellular injury, and preserves mitochondrial integrity. These data suggest that therapies targeting autophagy, by Ex4 treatment in particular, may ameliorate the effects of IRI in highly prevalent steatotic liver.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)G1088-G1099
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Autophagy
  • Ischemia-reperfusion injury
  • Steatosis


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