Cell-permeable succinate prodrugs rescue mitochondrial respiration in cellular models of acute acetaminophen overdose.
ABSTRACT: Acetaminophen is one of the most common over-the-counter pain medications used worldwide and is considered safe at therapeutic dose. However, intentional and unintentional overdose accounts for up to 70% of acute liver failure cases in the western world. Extensive research has demonstrated that the induction of oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction are central to the development of acetaminophen-induced liver injury. Despite the insight gained on the mechanism of acetaminophen toxicity, there still is only one clinically approved pharmacological treatment option, N-acetylcysteine. N-acetylcysteine increases the cell's antioxidant defense and protects liver cells from further acetaminophen-induced oxidative damage. Because it primarily protects healthy liver cells rather than rescuing the already injured cells alternative treatment strategies that target the latter cell population are warranted. In this study, we investigated mitochondria as therapeutic target for the development of novel treatment strategies for acetaminophen-induced liver injury. Characterization of the mitochondrial toxicity due to acute acetaminophen overdose in vitro in human cells using detailed respirometric analysis revealed that complex I-linked (NADH-dependent) but not complex II-linked (succinate-dependent) mitochondrial respiration is inhibited by acetaminophen. Treatment with a novel cell-permeable succinate prodrug rescues acetaminophen-induced impaired mitochondrial respiration. This suggests cell-permeable succinate prodrugs as a potential alternative treatment strategy to counteract acetaminophen-induced liver injury.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) is the active component of many medications used to treat pain and fever worldwide. Its overuse provokes liver injury and it is the second most common cause of liver failure. Mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to APAP-induced liver injury but the mechanism by which APAP causes hepatocyte toxicity is not completely understood. Therefore, we lack efficient therapeutic strategies to treat this pathology. Here we show that APAP interferes with the formation of mitochondrial respiratory supercomplexes via the mitochondrial negative regulator MCJ, and leads to decreased production of ATP and increased generation of ROS. In vivo treatment with an inhibitor of MCJ expression protects liver from acetaminophen-induced liver injury at a time when N-acetylcysteine, the standard therapy, has no efficacy. We also show elevated levels of MCJ in the liver of patients with acetaminophen overdose. We suggest that MCJ may represent a therapeutic target to prevent and rescue liver injury caused by acetaminophen.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) is a widely used analgesic. However, APAP overdose is hepatotoxic and is the primary cause of acute liver failure in the developed world. The mechanism of APAP-induced liver injury begins with protein binding and involves mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative stress. Recent efforts to discover blood biomarkers of mitochondrial damage have identified increased plasma glutamate dehydrogenase activity and mitochondrial DNA concentration in APAP overdose patients. However, a problem with these markers is that they are too large to be released from cells without cell death or loss of membrane integrity. Metabolomic studies are more likely to reveal biomarkers that are useful at early time points, before injury begins. Similar to earlier work, our metabolomic studies revealed that acylcarnitines are elevated in serum from mice after treatment with toxic doses of APAP. Importantly, a comparison with furosemide demonstrated that increased serum acylcarnitines are specific for mitochondrial dysfunction. However, when we measured these compounds in plasma from humans with liver injury after APAP overdose, we could not detect any significant differences from control groups. Further experiments with mice showed that N-acetylcysteine, the antidote for APAP overdose in humans, can reduce acylcarnitine levels in serum. Altogether, our data do not support the clinical measurement of acylcarnitines in blood after APAP overdose due to the standard N-acetylcysteine treatment in patients, but strongly suggest that acylcarnitines would be useful mechanistic biomarkers in other forms of liver injury involving mitochondrial dysfunction.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is the most common cause of hepatotoxicity and acute liver failure in the United States and many western countries. However, the only clinically approved antidote, N-acetylcysteine, has a limited therapeutic window. 4-Methylpyrazole (4MP) is an antidote for methanol and ethylene glycol poisoning, and we have recently shown that cotreatment of 4MP with APAP effectively prevents toxicity by inhibiting Cyp2E1. To evaluate if 4MP can be used therapeutically, C57BL/6J mice were treated with 300?mg/kg APAP followed by 50?mg/kg 4MP 90?min later (after the metabolism phase). In these experiments, 4MP significantly attenuated liver injury at 3, 6, and 24?h after APAP as shown by 80%-90% reduction in plasma alanine aminotransferase activities and reduced areas of necrosis. 4MP prevented c-Jun c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation and its mitochondrial translocation, and reduced mitochondrial oxidant stress and nuclear DNA fragmentation. 4MP also prevented JNK activation in other liver injury models. Molecular docking experiments showed that 4MP can bind to the ATP binding site of JNK. These data suggest that treatment with 4MP after the metabolism phase effectively prevents APAP-induced liver injury in the clinically relevant mouse model in vivo mainly through the inhibition of JNK activation. 4MP, a drug approved for human use, is as effective as N-acetylcysteine or can be even more effective in cases of severe overdoses with prolonged metabolism (600?mg/kg). 4MP acts on alternative therapeutic targets and thus may be a novel approach to treatment of APAP overdose in patients that complements N-acetylcysteine.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) plays a crucial role in hepatocyte proliferation. Its role in acetaminophen (APAP)-mediated hepatotoxicity and subsequent liver regeneration is completely unknown. Role of EGFR after APAP-overdose in mice was studied using pharmacological inhibition strategy. Rapid, sustained and dose-dependent activation of EGFR was noted after APAP-treatment in mice, which was triggered by glutathione depletion. EGFR-activation was also observed in primary human hepatocytes after APAP-treatment, preceding elevation of toxicity markers. Treatment of mice with an EGFR-inhibitor (EGFRi), Canertinib, 1h post-APAP resulted in robust inhibition of EGFR-activation and a striking reduction in APAP-induced liver injury. Metabolic activation of APAP, formation of APAP-protein adducts, APAP-mediated JNK-activation and its mitochondrial translocation were not altered by EGFRi. Interestingly, EGFR rapidly translocated to mitochondria after APAP-treatment. EGFRi-treatment abolished mitochondrial EGFR activity, prevented APAP-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction/oxidative-stress and release of endonucleases from mitochondria, which are responsible for DNA-damage/necrosis. Treatment with N-acetylcysteine (NAC), 4h post-APAP in mice did not show any protection but treatment of EGFRi in combination with NAC showed decrease in liver injury. Finally, delayed treatment with EGFRi, 12-h post-APAP, did not alter peak injury but caused impairment of liver regeneration resulting in sustained injury and decreased survival after APAP overdose in mice. Impairment of regeneration was due to inhibition of cyclinD1 induction and cell cycle arrest. Our study has revealed a new dual role of EGFR both in initiation of APAP-injury and in stimulation of subsequent compensatory regeneration after APAP-overdose.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is a major cause of acute liver failure. The glutathione (GSH) precursor N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is used to treat patients with APAP overdose for up to 48 hours. Although it is well established that early treatment with NAC can improve the scavenging of the reactive metabolite N-acetyl-p-benzoquinone imine, protective mechanisms at later times remain unclear. To address this issue, fasted C3Heb/FeJ mice were treated with 300 mg/kg APAP and then received intravenously 0.65 mmol/kg GSH or NAC at 1.5 hours after APAP. The animals were sacrificed at 6 hours. APAP alone caused severe liver injury with peroxynitrite formation and DNA fragmentation, all of which was attenuated by both treatments. However, GSH (-82%) was more effective than NAC (-46%) in preventing liver injury. Using nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to measure tissue adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels and the substrate flux through the mitochondrial Krebs cycle, it was observed that the reduced liver injury correlated with accelerated recovery of mitochondrial GSH content, maintenance of ATP levels, and an increased substrate supply for the mitochondrial Krebs cycle compared with APAP alone. NAC treatment was less effective in recovering ATP and mitochondrial GSH levels and showed reduced substrate flux through the Krebs cycle compared with GSH. However, increasing the dose of NAC improved the protective effect similar to GSH, suggesting that the amino acids not used for GSH synthesis were used as mitochondrial energy substrates.Delayed treatment with GSH and NAC protect against APAP overdose by dual mechanisms-that is, by enhancing hepatic and mitochondrial GSH levels (scavenging of reactive oxygen and peroxynitrite)-and by supporting the mitochondrial energy metabolism.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Autophagy can selectively remove damaged organelles, including mitochondria, and, in turn, protect against mitochondria-damage-induced cell death. Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose can cause liver injury in animals and humans by inducing mitochondria damage and subsequent necrosis in hepatocytes. Although many detrimental mechanisms have been reported to be responsible for APAP-induced hepatotoxicity, it is not known whether APAP can modulate autophagy to regulate hepatotoxicity in hepatocytes. To test the hypothesis that autophagy may play a critical protective role against APAP-induced hepatotoxicity, primary cultured mouse hepatocytes and green fluorescent protein/light chain 3 transgenic mice were treated with APAP. By using a series of morphological and biochemical autophagic flux assays, we found that APAP induced autophagy both in the in vivo mouse liver and in primary cultured hepatocytes. We also found that APAP treatment might suppress mammalian target of rapamycin in hepatocytes and that APAP-induced autophagy was suppressed by N-acetylcysteine, suggesting APAP mitochondrial protein binding and the subsequent production of reactive oxygen species may play an important role in APAP-induced autophagy. Pharmacological inhibition of autophagy by 3-methyladenine or chloroquine further exacerbated APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. In contrast, induction of autophagy by rapamycin inhibited APAP-induced hepatotoxicity. CONCLUSION:APAP overdose induces autophagy, which attenuates APAP-induced liver cell death by removing damaged mitochondria.
Project description:Acetaminophen overdose is the most common cause of acute liver injury (ALI) or acute liver failure in the United States. Its pathogenetic mechanisms are incompletely understood. Additional studies are warranted to identify new genetic risk factors for more mechanistic insights and new therapeutic target discoveries. The objective of this study was to explore the role and mechanisms of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) in acetaminophen-induced ALI. C57BL/6 Nampt gene wild-type (Nampt+/+), heterozygous knockout (Nampt+/-), and overexpression (NamptOE) mice were treated with overdose of acetaminophen, followed by histologic, biochemical, and transcriptomic evaluation of liver injury. The mechanism of Nampt in acetaminophen-induced hepatocytic toxicity was also explored in cultured primary hepatocytes. Three lines of evidence have convergently demonstrated that acetaminophen overdose triggers the most severe oxidative stress and necrosis, and the highest expression of key necrosis driving genes in Nampt+/- mice, whereas the effects in NamptOE mice were least severe relative to Nampt+/+ mice. Treatment of P7C3-A20, a small chemical molecule up-regulator of Nampt, ameliorated acetaminophen-induced mouse ALI over the reagent control. These findings support the fact that NAMPT protects against acetaminophen-induced ALI.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) overdose is one of the leading causes of hepatotoxicity and acute liver failure in the United States. Accumulating evidence suggests that hepatocyte necrosis plays a critical role in APAP-induced liver injury (AILI). However, the mechanisms of APAP-induced necrosis and liver injury are not fully understood. In this study, we found that p53 up-regulated modulator of apoptosis (PUMA), a B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) homology domain 3 (BH3)-only Bcl-2 family member, was markedly induced by APAP in mouse livers and in isolated human and mouse hepatocytes. PUMA deficiency suppressed APAP-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and release of cell death factors from mitochondria, and protected against APAP-induced hepatocyte necrosis and liver injury in mice. PUMA induction by APAP was p53 independent, and required receptor-interacting protein kinase 1 (RIP1) and c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) by transcriptional activation. Furthermore, a small-molecule PUMA inhibitor, administered after APAP treatment, mitigated APAP-induced hepatocyte necrosis and liver injury. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that RIP1/JNK-dependent PUMA induction mediates AILI by promoting hepatocyte mitochondrial dysfunction and necrosis, and suggest that PUMA inhibition is useful for alleviating acute hepatotoxicity attributed to APAP overdose.
Project description:Metabolic activation and oxidant stress are key events in the pathophysiology of acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity. The initial mitochondrial oxidative stress triggered by protein adduct formation is amplified by c-jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK), resulting in mitochondrial dysfunction and ultimately cell necrosis. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is considered the link between oxidant stress and JNK activation. The objective of the current study was to assess the efficacy and mechanism of action of the small-molecule ASK1 inhibitor GS-459679 in a murine model of APAP hepatotoxicity. APAP (300 mg/kg) caused extensive glutathione depletion, JNK activation and translocation to the mitochondria, oxidant stress and liver injury as indicated by plasma ALT activities and area of necrosis over a 24h observation period. Pretreatment with 30 mg/kg of GS-459679 almost completely prevented JNK activation, oxidant stress and injury without affecting the metabolic activation of APAP. To evaluate the therapeutic potential of GS-459679, mice were treated with APAP and then with the inhibitor. Given 1.5h after APAP, GS-459679 was still protective, which was paralleled by reduced JNK activation and p-JNK translocation to mitochondria. However, GS-459679 treatment was not more effective than N-acetylcysteine, and the combination of GS-459679 and N-acetylcysteine exhibited similar efficacy as N-acetylcysteine monotherapy, suggesting that GS-459769 and N-acetylcysteine affect the same pathway. Importantly, inhibition of ASK1 did not impair liver regeneration as indicated by PCNA staining. In conclusion, the ASK1 inhibitor GS-459679 protected against APAP toxicity by attenuating JNK activation and oxidant stress in mice and may have therapeutic potential for APAP overdose patients.
Project description:Acetaminophen (APAP) hepatotoxicity is characterized by an extensive mitochondrial oxidant stress. However, its importance as a drug target has not been clarified. To investigate this, fasted C57BL/6J mice were treated with 300 mg/kg APAP and the mitochondria-targeted antioxidant Mito-Tempo (MT) was given 1.5 h later. APAP caused severe liver injury in mice, as indicated by the increase in plasma ALT activities and centrilobular necrosis. MT dose-dependently reduced the injury. Importantly, MT did not affect APAP-protein adducts formation, glutathione depletion or c-jun N-terminal kinase activation and its mitochondrial translocation. In contrast, hepatic glutathione disulfide and peroxynitrite formation were dose-dependently reduced by MT, indicating its effective mitochondrial oxidant stress scavenging capacity. Consequently, mitochondrial translocation of Bax and release of mitochondrial intermembrane proteins such as apoptosis-inducing factor were prevented, and nuclear DNA fragmentation was eliminated. To demonstrate the importance of mitochondria-specific antioxidant property of MT, we compared its efficacy with Tempo, which has the same pharmacological mode of action as MT but lacks the mitochondria targeting moiety. In contrast to the dramatic protection by MT, the same molar dose of Tempo did not significantly reduce APAP hepatotoxicity. In contrast, even a 3 h post-treatment with MT reduced 70 % of the injury, and the combination of MT with N-acetylcysteine (NAC) provided superior protection than NAC alone. We conclude that MT protects against APAP overdose in mice by attenuating the mitochondrial oxidant stress and preventing peroxynitrite formation and the subsequent mitochondrial dysfunction. MT is a promising therapeutic agent for APAP overdose patients.