Protective effect of melittin on inflammation and apoptosis in acute liver failure
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Acute hepatic failure remains an extremely poor prognosis and still results in high mortality. Therefore, better treatment is urgently needed. Melittin, a major component of bee venom, is known to inhibit inflammatory reactions induced by lipopolysaccharide (LPS) or tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in various cell types. However, there is no evidence of the anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic effect of melittin on liver cells. In the present study, we investigated the effects of melittin on d-galactosamine (GalN)/lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced acute hepatic failure. Acute liver injury was induced with GalN/LPS to determine in vivo efficacy of melittin. Mice were randomly divided into four groups: sterile saline treated group (NC), melittin only treated group (NM), GalN/LPS-treated group (GalN/LPS), and GalN/LPS treated with melittin group (M+GalN/LPS). Mice were given intraperitoneal GalN/LPS with or without melittin treatment. Liver injury was assessed biochemically and histologically. Inflammatory cytokines in the serum, apoptosis of hepatocytes, and cleavage of caspase-3 in the liver were determined. The expression of TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-1β were increased in the GalN/LPS group. However, treatment of melittin attenuated the increase of inflammatory cytokines. The M+GalN/LPS group showed significantly fewer apoptotic cells compared to the GalN/LPS group. Melittin significantly inhibited the expression of caspase and bax protein levels as well as cytochrome c release in vivo. In addition, melittin prevented the activation of the transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) induced by GalN/LPS. These results clearly indicate that melittin provided protection against GalN/LPS-induced acute hepatic failure through the inhibition of inflammatory cytokines and apoptosis.
KeywordsApoptosis Inflammatory cytokine Melittin Acute liver failure TNF-α NF-κB
Tumor necrosis factor
Nuclear factor-kappa B
Vascular smooth muscle cell
Mitogen-activated protein kinases
Electrophoretic mobility shift analysis
Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-digoxigenin nick-end labeling
This work was supported by a grant (PJ0081302011) from the BioGreen 21 Program, Rural Development Administration, and Republic of Korea.
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