Hepatic dimethylarginine-dimethylaminohydrolase1 is reduced in cirrhosis and is a target for therapy in portal hypertension.
ABSTRACT: Portal hypertension is characterized by reduced hepatic eNOS activity. Asymmetric-dimethylarginine (ADMA), an eNOS inhibitor, is elevated in cirrhosis and correlates with the severity of portal hypertension. Dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase-1 (DDAH-1) is the key enzyme metabolizing hepatic ADMA. This study characterized DDAH-1 in cirrhosis, and explored hepatic DDAH-1 reconstitution through farnesoid X receptor (FXR) agonism and DDAH-1 gene therapy.DDAH-1 immunohistochemistry was conducted on human cirrhosis and healthy liver tissue. Subsequently, sham-operated or bile-duct-ligated (BDL) cirrhosis rats were treated with the FXR agonist obeticholic acid (OA, 5 mg/kg) or vehicle for 5 days. Further, animals underwent hydrodynamic injection with DDAH-1-expressing plasmid or saline control, which resulted in the following groups: sham+saline, BDL+saline, BDL+DDAH-1-plasmid. Portal pressure (PP) measurements were performed. Plasma ALT was measured by COBAS INTEGRA, DDAH-1 expression by qPCR and Western blot, eNOS activity by radiometric assay.Immunohistochemistry and Western-blotting confirmed hepatic DDAH-1 was restricted to hepatocytes, and expression decreased significantly in cirrhosis. In BDL rats, reduced DDAH-1 expression was associated with elevated hepatic ADMA, reduced eNOS activity and high PP. OA treatment significantly increased DDAH-1 expression, reduced hepatic tissue ADMA, and increased liver NO generation. PP was significantly reduced in BDL+OA vs. BDL+vehicle (8±1 vs. 13.5±0.6 mmHg; p<0.01) with no change in the mean arterial pressure (MAP). Similarly, DDAH-1 hydrodynamic injection significantly increased hepatic DDAH-1 gene and protein expression, and significantly reduced PP in BDL+DDAH-1 vs. BDL+saline (p<0.01).This study demonstrates DDAH-1 is a specific molecular target for portal pressure reduction, through actions on ADMA-mediated regulation of eNOS activity. Our data support translational studies, targeting DDAH-1 in cirrhosis and portal hypertension.
Project description:Although in cirrhosis with portal hypertension levels of the vasoconstrictor angiotensin II are increased, this is accompanied by increased production of angiotensin (Ang)-(1-7), the endogenous ligand of the Mas receptor (MasR), which blunts hepatic fibrosis and decreases hepatic vascular resistance. Therefore, we investigated the effects of the non-peptidic Ang-(1-7) agonist, AVE0991, in experimental cirrhosis.Cirrhosis was induced by bile duct ligation (BDL) or carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) intoxication. The coloured microsphere technique assessed portal and systemic hemodynamic effects of AVE0991 in vivo. Hepatic expression of eNOS, p-eNOS, iNOS, JAK2, ROCK and p-Moesin were analyzed by western blots. Activities of ACE and ACE2 were investigated fluorometrically. Moreover, fibrosis was assessed in BDL rats receiving AVE0991.In vivo, AVE0991 decreased portal pressure (PP) in both rat models of cirrhosis. Importantly, systemic effects were not observed. The hepatic effects of AVE0991 were based on upregulation of vasodilating pathways involving p-eNOS and iNOS, as well as by downregulation of the vasoconstrictive pathways (ROCK, p-Moesin). Short-term treatment with AVE0991 decreased the activity of ACE2, long-term treatment did not affect hepatic fibrosis in BDL rats.The non-peptidic agonist of Ang-(1-7), AVE0991, decreases portal pressure without influencing systemic pressure. Thus, although it does not inhibit fibrosis, AVE0991 may represent a promising new therapeutic strategy for lowering portal pressure.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Circulating cirrhotic endothelial progenitor cells (EPC) interact with both liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSEC) and hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and promote angiogenesis <i>in vitro</i>. This study evaluated the effect of cirrhotic and control EPCs on hepatic angiogenesis, microcirculation, and fibrosis <i>in vivo</i> in rat models of cirrhosis.<h4>Methodology</h4>Animal models of cirrhosis were prepared by bile duct ligation (BDL). Circulating EPCs isolated from healthy human and cirrhotic blood were characterized by flow cytometry, cultured and administered through the tail vein in BDL rats after 2 weeks of ligation. The cells were given thrice a week for 2 weeks. The untreated group of BDL rats received only saline. Fibrosis was evaluated by Masson's trichrome staining. Dedifferentiated LSECs were identified by the expression of CD31, and activated HSCs were marked as alpha-SMA-positive cells and were studied by immunohistochemistry and western blotting in saline-, healthy EPC-, and cirrhotic EPC-treated rats. <i>In vivo</i>, hepatic and systemic hemodynamic parameters were evaluated. Liver functions were evaluated.<h4>Results</h4>In comparison to controls, BDL rats revealed an increase of fibrosis and angiogenesis. Among the treated rats, cirrhotic EPC-treated rats had increased fibrosis grade as compared to healthy EPC-treated and saline-treated rats. There was an increase of both fibrosis and angiogenesis markers, alpha-SMA and CD31 in cirrhotic EPC-treated rats as compared to healthy EPC-treated and saline-treated rats in immunohistochemistry and western blot studies. Cirrhotic EPC-treated BDL rats had high portal pressure and portal blood flow with significantly elevated hepatic vascular resistance in comparison with healthy EPC- and saline-treated BDL animals, without significant differences in mean arterial pressure. Cirrhotic EPC-treated BDL rats also showed a substantial increase in the hepatic expression of angiogenic receptors, VEGFR2 and CXCR4 in comparison with saline-treated rats.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The study suggests that transplantation of cirrhotic EPCs enhances LSEC differentiation and angiogenesis, activates HSCs and worsens fibrosis, thus resulting in hepatic hemodynamic derangements in BDL-induced cirrhosis.
Project description:Portal hypertension (PH) is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in chronic liver disease. Infection and inflammation play a role in potentiating PH and pro-inflammatory cytokines, including TNF, are associated with severity of PH. In this study, cirrhotic bile duct ligated (BDL) rats with PH were treated with Infliximab (IFX, a monoclonal antibody against TNF) and its impact on modulation of vascular tone was assessed. BDL rats had increased TNF and NFkB compared to sham operated rats, and their reduction by IFX was associated with a reduction in portal pressure. IFX treatment also reduced hepatic oxidative stress, and biochemical markers of hepatic inflammation and injury. IFX treatment was associated with an improvement in eNOS activity and increased L-arginine/ADMA ratio and DDAH1 expression. In vitro analysis of HepG2 hepatocytes showed that DDAH1 protein expression is reduced by oxidative stress, and this is in part mediated by post-transcriptional regulation by the 3'UTR. This study supports a role for the DDAH1/ADMA axis on the effect of inflammation and oxidative stress in PH and provides insight for new therapies.
Project description:Vaspin is an adipocytokine recently identified in the visceral adipose tissue of diabetic rats and having anti-diabetic effects. We have recently shown that vaspin has anti-atherogenic effect through Akt-mediated inhibition of endothelial cell apoptosis. Decreased activity of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) plays an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is a well-known endogenous competitive inhibitor of eNOS and risk factor of cardiovascular diseases. The aim of this study was to examine whether vaspin might protect against atherosclerosis through its beneficial effects on the ADMA-eNOS system. Treatment of vaspin significantly increased NO secretion from endothelial cells and isolated aorta from Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Furthermore, treatment of vaspin prevented fatty acid-induced decrease in endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in isolated aorta of SD rat. For the mechanism of vaspin-induced NO biosynthesis, vaspin activated the STAT3 signaling pathway and stimulated eNOS phosphorylation (Ser 1177), a marker of eNOS activation, through STAT3-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, vaspin treatment increased the expression of dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) II, the responsible enzyme for the degradation of ADMA, leading to a reduction in ADMA levels. Vaspin-induced increase in DDAH II gene expression was through STAT3-mediated stimulation of DDAH II promoter activity. These results suggest that vaspin increases eNOS activity by reducing ADMA level through STAT3-mediated regulation of DDAH II expression. Our findings provide a novel molecular mechanism of antiatherogenic actions of vaspin.
Project description:Recent studies have indicated that the Adenosine 5'-monophosphate (AMP)-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway is closely involved in liver fibrosis and other fibrotic diseases. However, whether targeting the AMPK pathway can rescue liver fibrosis and its complications, such as portal hypertension, is unknown. This study aimed to explore the therapeutic value of AICAR (5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxyamide ribonucleoside), an agonist of the AMPK pathway, on liver fibrosis and portal hypertension in bile duct ligation (BDL) rats. In vitro experiments showed that the gene expression levels of TGF-b, a-SMA, and collagen 1 in primary rat hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) were significantly decreased after AICAR treatment. The p-eNOS expression and nitric oxide (NO) production were increased by AICAR administration in sinusoidal endothelial cells (SECs). For in vivo animal studies, AICAR acutely decreased portal pressure in the BDL and CCL4 fibrotic rats, but not in the partial portal vein ligation (PVL) rats, without changes in systemic hemodynamics. It was also observed by using intravital fluorescence microscopy that AICAR led to sinusoidal vasodilation in situ experiment. We propose that the relevant mechanisms may be related to the activation of the AMPK/NO pathway in SECs and that this activation promoted NO production in the liver, thereby promoting hepatic sinusoid microcirculation and decreased intrahepatic resistance. The results were verified using the NO inhibitor L-NAME. Chronic AICAR treatment also showed profound beneficial effects on the BDL model rats. The hemodynamic condition was greatly improved, but the positive effect could be partially blocked by L-NAME. Moreover, AICAR also decreased hepatic fibrogenesis in the BDL rats. KEY MESSAGES: Acute and chronic use of AICAR could alleviate portal pressure without changing systemic hemodynamics. AICAR induced sinusoidal vasodilation by improving NO bioavailability and ameliorating endothelial dysfunction in vivo and in vitro. AICAR could alleviate liver cirrhosis in the BDL model rats.
Project description:Asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) is an endogenous inhibitor of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS). ADMA is degraded by dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH). Elevated levels of ADMA lead to reduction in nitric oxide (NO) production, which is linked to endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis. Piper sarmentosum is an herb that has shown stimulation on endothelial NO production by increasing both expression and activity of eNOS. Thus, this study determined whether the positive effect of P. sarmentosum on NO production is related to its modulation on the DDAH-ADMA pathway in cultured human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) exposed to tumor necrosis factor-? (TNF-?). HUVEC were divided into four groups: control, treatment with 250 µg/ml of aqueous extract of P. sarmentosum leaves (AEPS), treatment with 30 ng/ml of TNF-?, and concomitant treatment with AEPS and TNF-? for 24 h. After treatments, HUVEC were collected to measure DDAH1 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression using quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. DDAH1 protein level was measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), and DDAH enzyme activity was measured using colorimetric assay. ADMA concentration was measured using ELISA, and NO level was measured using Griess assay. Compared to control, TNF-?-treated HUVEC showed reduction in DDAH1 mRNA expression (P < 0.05), DDAH1 protein level (P < 0.01), and DDAH activity (P < 0.05). Treatment with AEPS successfully increased DDAH1 mRNA expression (P < 0.05), DDAH1 protein level (P < 0.01), and DDAH activity (P < 0.05) in TNF-?-treated HUVEC. Treatment with TNF-? caused an increase in ADMA level (P < 0.01) and a decrease in endothelial NO production (P < 0.001). Whereas treatment with AEPS was able to reduce ADMA level (P < 0.01) and restore NO (P < 0.001) in TNF-?-treated HUVEC. The results suggested that AEPS promotes endothelial NO production by stimulating DDAH activity and thus reducing ADMA level in TNF-?-treated HUVEC.
Project description:Reduced renal L-arginine (L-Arg) synthesis/transport, induction of arginases and increased endogenous NOS inhibitor, asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA) will inhibit NO production. This study investigated pathways of L-Arg synthesis/uptake/utilization, ADMA degradation and oxidant/antioxidants in puromycin aminonucleoside (PAN) chronic kidney disease (CKD).Rats were given low- (LD) or high-dose (HD) PAN and followed for 11 weeks for proteinuria. BP was measured and blood and tissues were harvested and analyzed for abundance of argininosuccinate synthase (ASS) and lyase (ASL), arginase, cationic amino acid transporter (CAT1) and dimethylargininedimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH) in kidney, cortex, aorta and liver. Arginase and DDAH activity, plasma L-Arg and ADMA, renal pathology and creatinine clearances were also measured.PAN caused dose-dependent kidney damage and hypertension and creatinine clearance fell in HD-PAN. Renal ASS fell in HD-PAN, renal cortex and aortic ASL and membrane CAT1 fell in both PAN groups. There was no activation of renal arginase, but aortic arginase increased in LD-PAN. Renal DDAH activity fell moderately in LD-PAN and markedly in HD-PAN where hepatic DDAH activity also fell. Plasma L-Arg was unchanged while ADMA rose moderately and dose-dependently with PAN. There were several indices of oxidative stress which was most prominent in HD-PAN.Reduction in renal ASS/ASL and loss of renal cortex CAT1 compromises renal L-Arg synthesis and release. Loss of aortic CAT1 impairs L-Arg uptake. Increased plasma ADMA was associated with progressive loss of renal DDAH activity. However, loss of renal clearance and falls in hepatic DDAH activity in HD-PAN did not have additive effects on plasma ADMA.
Project description:Statins present many beneficial effects in chronic liver disease, but concerns about safety exist. We evaluated the hepatic effects of a nitric oxide-releasing atorvastatin (NCX 6560) compared to conventional statins. Simvastatin, atorvastatin and NCX 6560 were evaluated in four-week bile duct-ligated rats (BDL) simulating decompensated cirrhosis and in thirteen-week carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) intoxicated rats, a model of early cirrhosis. In the BDL model, simvastatin treated rats showed high mortality and the remaining animals presented muscular and hepatic toxicity. At equivalent doses, NCX 6560 eliminated hepatic toxicity and reduced muscular toxicity (60-74%) caused by atorvastatin in the more advanced BDL model; toxicity was minimal in the CCl4 model. Atorvastatin and NCX 6560 similarly reduced portal pressure without changing systemic hemodynamics in both models. Atorvastatin and NCX 6560 caused a mild decrease in liver fibrosis and inflammation and a significant increase in intrahepatic cyclic guanosine monophosphate. NCX 6560 induced a higher intrahepatic vasoprotective profile (activated endothelial nitric oxide synthase and decreased platelet/endothelial cell adhesion molecule-1), especially in the CCl4 model, suggesting a higher benefit in early cirrhosis. In conclusion, NCX 6560 improves the liver profile and portal hypertension of cirrhotic rats similarly to conventional statins, but with a much better safety profile.
Project description:The Pringle maneuver (PM) has been widely used to control blood loss during liver resection. However, hepatic inflow occlusion can also result in hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI), especially in patients with a cholestatic, fibrotic, or cirrhotic liver. Here we investigate a nitric oxide synthase (NOS) inhibitor N-Nitroarginine methyl ester (L-NAME) on IRI after the PM and partial hepatectomy of cholestatic livers induced by bile duct ligation (BDL) in rats. Control group (non-BDL/no treatment), BDL + T group (BDL/L-NAME treatment) and BDL group (BDL/no treatment) were analyzed. Cholestasis was induced by BDL in the L-NAME and BDL group and a 50% partial hepatectomy with PM was performed. L-NAME was injected before PM in the BDL + T group. Hepatocellular damage, portal venous flow, microcirculation, endothelial lining, and eNOS, iNOS, interleukin (IL)-6, and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β) were evaluated. Microcirculation of the liver in the BDL + T group tended to be higher. Liver damage and apoptotic index were significantly lower and Ki-67 labeling index was higher in the BDL + T group while iNOS and TGF-β expression was decreased. This was corroborated by a better preserved endothelial lining. L-NAME attenuated IRI following PM and improved proliferation/regeneration of cholestatic livers. These positive effects were considered as the result of improved hepatic microcirculation, prevention of iNOS formation, and TGF-β mRNA upregulation.
Project description:Reduced NO is a hallmark of endothelial dysfunction, and among the mechanisms for impaired NO synthesis is the accumulation of the endogenous nitric-oxide synthase inhibitor asymmetric dimethylarginine (ADMA). Free ADMA is actively metabolized by the intracellular enzyme dimethylarginine dimethylaminohydrolase (DDAH), which catalyzes the conversion of ADMA to citrulline. Decreased DDAH expression/activity is evident in disease states associated with endothelial dysfunction and is believed to be the mechanism responsible for increased methylarginines and subsequent ADMA-mediated endothelial nitric-oxide synthase impairment. Two isoforms of DDAH have been identified; however, it is presently unclear which is responsible for endothelial ADMA metabolism and NO regulation. The current study investigated the effects of both DDAH-1 and DDAH-2 in the regulation of methylarginines and endothelial NO generation. Results demonstrated that overexpression of DDAH-1 and DDAH-2 increased endothelial NO by 24 and 18%, respectively. Moreover, small interfering RNA-mediated down-regulation of DDAH-1 and DDAH-2 reduced NO bioavailability by 27 and 57%, respectively. The reduction in NO production following DDAH-1 gene silencing was associated with a 48% reduction in l-Arg/ADMA and was partially restored with l-Arg supplementation. In contrast, l-Arg/ADMA was unchanged in the DDAH-2-silenced cells, and l-Arg supplementation had no effect on NO. These results clearly demonstrate that DDAH-1 and DDAH-2 manifest their effects through different mechanisms, the former of which is largely ADMA-dependent and the latter ADMA-independent. Overall, the present study demonstrates an important regulatory role for DDAH in the maintenance of endothelial function and identifies this pathway as a potential target for treating diseases associated with decreased NO bioavailability.