Mitogen-activated kinase kinase kinase kinase 4 (Map4k4), originally identified in small interfering (si)RNA screens and characterized by tissue-specific gene deletions, is emerging as a regulator of glucose homeostasis and cardiovascular health. Recent studies have shown that Map4k4 gene ablation or inhibition of its kinase activity attenuates hyperglycemia and plaque formation in mouse models of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis, and suggest roles for Map4k4 in multiple signaling systems, including NFkappaB activation, small GTPase regulation, the Hippo cascade, and regulation of cell dynamics by FERM domain proteins. This new and promising area of inquiry raises key questions that need to be addressed, such as defining which of the above or other effectors mediate Map4k4 control of metabolic and vascular functions, and identifying upstream activators of Map4k4.
Therapeutic Benefits of Spleen Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor Administration on Binge Drinking-Induced Alcoholic Liver Injury, Steatosis, and Inflammation in Mice
BACKGROUND: Binge drinking is increasingly recognized as an important cause of liver disease with limited therapeutic options for patients. Binge alcohol use, similar to chronic alcohol consumption, induces numerous deregulated signaling events that drive liver damage, steatosis, and inflammation. In this article, we evaluated the role of spleen tyrosine kinase (SYK), which modulates numerous signaling events previously identified linked in the development alcohol-induced liver pathology.
METHODS: A 3-day alcohol binge was administered to C57BL/6 female mice, and features of alcoholic liver disease were assessed. Some mice were treated daily with intraperitoneal injections of a SYK inhibitor (R406; 5 to 10 mg/kg body weight) or drug vehicle control. Liver and serum samples were collected and were assessed by Western blotting, biochemical, ELISA, electrophoretic mobility shift assays, real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and histopathological analysis.
RESULTS: We found that binge drinking induced significant SYK activation (SYK(Y525/526) ) with no change in total SYK expression in the liver. Functional inhibition of SYK activation using a potent SYK inhibitor, R406, was associated with a significant decrease in alcohol-induced hepatic inflammation as demonstrated by decreased phospho-nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kappaB) p65, NF-kappaB nuclear binding, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 mRNA in the liver. Compared to vehicle controls, SYK inhibitor treatment decreased alcohol binge-induced hepatocyte injury indicated by histology and serum alanine aminotransferase. Strikingly, SYK inhibitor treatment also resulted in a significant reduction in alcohol-induced liver steatosis.
CONCLUSIONS: Our novel observations demonstrate the role of SYK, activation in the pathomechanism of binge drinking-induced liver disease highlighting SYK a potential multifaceted therapeutic target.
Interleukin-1 and inflammasomes in alcoholic liver disease/acute alcoholic hepatitis and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease/nonalcoholic steatohepatitis
Both alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are characterized by massive lipid accumulation in the liver accompanied by inflammation, fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma in a substantial subgroup of patients. At several stages in these diseases, mediators of the immune system, such as cytokines or inflammasomes, are crucially involved. In ALD, chronic ethanol exposure sensitizes Kupffer cells to activation by lipopolysaccharides through Toll-like receptors, e.g., Toll-like receptor 4. This sensitization enhances the production of various proinflammatory cytokines such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha, thereby contributing to hepatocyte dysfunction, necrosis, and apoptosis and the generation of extracellular matrix proteins leading to fibrosis/cirrhosis. Indeed, neutralization of IL-1 by IL-1 receptor antagonist has recently been shown to potently prevent liver injury in murine models of ALD. As IL-1 is clearly linked to key clinical symptoms of acute alcoholic hepatitis such as fever, neutrophilia, and wasting, interfering with the IL-1 pathway might be an attractive treatment strategy in the future. An important role for IL-1-type cytokines and certain inflammasomes has also been demonstrated in murine models of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. IL-1-type cytokines can regulate hepatic steatosis; the NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome is critically involved in metabolic dysregulation.
CONCLUSION: IL-1 cytokine family members and various inflammasomes mediate different aspects of both ALD and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
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