Sitagliptin is selective dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor (DPP4-I), used clinically as a new oral anti-diabetic agent. This study explored the underlying mechanisms of the hepatoprotective role of sitagliptin pretreatment against methotrexate (MTX) induced hepatotoxicity in mice. Forty mice were divided into four groups (10 mice each); control, MTX, and two sitagliptin groups (pretreated with sitagliptin 10 and 20 mg/kg/day, respectively) for five consecutive days prior to MTX injection. Results showed that MTX induced marked hepatic injury in the form of cloudy swelling, hydropic degeneration, apoptosis and focal necrosis in all hepatic zones. Biochemical analysis revealed significant increase in the serum transaminases, alkaline phosphatase and lactate dehydrogenase in MTX group. Oxidative stress and depressed antioxidant system of the hepatic tissues were evident in MTX group. MTX down-regulated nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) expression and reduced its binding capacity. Additionally, MTX increased the activation and the expression of nuclear factor kappa-B (NF-κB) and downstream inflammatory mediators. MTX induced the activation of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) and increased nitrite/nitrate level. Finally, hepatic cellular apoptosis was clearly obvious in MTX-intoxicated animals using TUNEL staining. Also, there was increase in the immunoexpression of pro-apoptotic protein Bax, increase in Bax and caspase-3 levels and decrease in the level of anti-apoptotic Bcl2 in liver. On the other hand, sitagliptin pretreatment significantly ameliorated all of the above mentioned biochemical, histopathological, immunohistochemical changes induced by MTX. These results provide new evidences that the hepatoprotective effect of sitagliptin is possibly mediated through modulation of Nrf2 and NF-κB signaling pathways with subsequent suppression of inflammatory and apoptotic processes.
Abo-Haded, H. M., Elkablawy, M. A., Al-Johani, Z., Al-Ahmadi, O., & El-Agamy, D. S. (2017). Hepatoprotective effect of sitagliptin against methotrexate induced liver toxicity. PLoS ONE, 12(3). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0174295