Acute liver injury is frequently associated with oxidative stress. Here, we investigated the therapeutic potential of carbon monoxide releasing molecule A-1 (CORM A-1) in oxidative stress-mediated liver injury. Overnight-fasted mice were injected with acetaminophen (APAP; 300 mg/kg; intraperitoneally) and were sacrificed at 4 and 12 h. They showed elevated levels of serum transaminases, depleted hepatic glutathione (GSH) and hepatocyte necrosis. Mice injected with CORM A-1 (20 mg/kg) 1 h after APAP administration, had reduced serum transaminases, preserved hepatic GSH and reduced hepatocyte necrosis. Mice that received a lethal dose of APAP (600 mg/kg), died by 10 h; but those co-treated with CORM A-1 showed a 50% survival. Compared to APAP-treated mice, livers from those co-treated with CORM A-1, had upregulation of Nrf2 and ARE genes (HO-1, GCLM and NQO-1). APAP-treated mice had elevated hepatic mRNA levels of inflammatory genes (Nf-κB, TNF-α, IL1-β and IL-6), an effect blunted in those co-treated with CORM A-1. In tert-butyl hydroperoxide (t-BHP)-treated HepG2 cells, CORM A-1 augmented cell viability, reduced oxidative stress, activated the nuclear factor erythroid 2–related factor 2 (Nrf2) and anti-oxidant response element (ARE) genes. The molecular docking profile of CO in the kelch domain of Keap1 protein suggested that CO released from CORM A-1 mediated Nrf2 activation. Collectively, these data indicate that CORM A-1 reduces oxidative stress by upregulating Nrf2 and related genes, and restoring hepatic GSH, to reduce hepatocyte necrosis and thus minimize liver injury that contributes to an overall improved survival rate.
- CORM A-1
- Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1
- Nuclear Factor Erythroid 2-Related Factor 2
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