AUTHORS: Pierzchala K, Simicic D, Sienkiewicz A, D Sessa D, Mitrea S, Braissant O, McLin VA, Gruetter R, Cudalbu C

Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 178(2022): 295-307, January 2022


The role and coexistence of oxidative stress (OS) and inflammation in type C hepatic encephalopathy (C HE) is a subject of intense debate. Under normal conditions the physiological levels of intracellular reactive oxygen species are controlled by the counteracting antioxidant response to maintain redox homeostasis. Our previous in-vivo1H-MRS studies revealed the longitudinal impairment of the antioxidant system (ascorbate) in a bile-duct ligation (BDL) rat model of type C HE. Therefore, the aim of this work was to examine the course of central nervous system (CNS) OS and systemic OS, as well as to check for their co-existence with inflammation in the BDL rat model of type C HE. To this end, we implemented a multidisciplinary approach, including ex-vivo and in-vitro electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy (EPR) spin-trapping, which was combined with UV-Vis spectroscopy, and histological assessments. We hypothesized that OS and inflammation act synergistically in the pathophysiology of type C HE. Our findings point to an increased CNS- and systemic-OS and inflammation over the course of type C HE progression. In particular, an increase in the CNS OS was observed as early as 2-weeks post-BDL, while the systemic OS became significant at week 6 post-BDL. The CNS EPR measurements were further validated by a substantial accumulation of 8-Oxo-2′-deoxyguanosine (Oxo-8-dG), a marker of oxidative DNA/RNA modifications on immunohistochemistry (IHC). Using IHC, we also detected increased synthesis of antioxidants, glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPX-1) and superoxide dismutases (i.e.Cu/ZnSOD (SOD1) and MnSOD (SOD2)), along with proinflammatory cytokine interleukin-6 (IL-6) in the brains of BDL rats. The presence of systemic inflammation was observed already at 2-weeks post-surgery. Thus, these results suggest that CNS OS is an early event in type C HE rat model, which seems to precede systemic OS. Finally, our results suggest that the increase in CNS OS is due to enhanced formation of intra- and extra-cellular ROS rather than due to reduced antioxidant capacity, and that OS in parallel with inflammation plays a significant role in type C HE.

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