Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is the third most common endogenously produced gaseous signaling molecule, but its impact on hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, especially on mitochondrial function, remains unclear. In this study, rats were randomized into Sham, I/R, ischemia preconditioning (IPC) or sodium hydrosulfide (NaHS, an H2S donor) preconditioning groups. To establish a model of segmental (70%) warm hepatic ischemia, the hepatic artery, left portal vein and median liver lobes were occluded for 60 min and then unclamped to allow reperfusion. Preconditioning with 12.5, 25 or 50 μmol/kg NaHS prior to the I/R insult significantly increased serum H2S levels, and, similar to IPC, NaHS preconditioning decreased alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels in the plasma and prevented hepatocytes from undergoing I/R-induced necrosis. Moreover, a sub-toxic dose of NaHS (25 μmol/kg) did not disrupt the systemic hemodynamics but dramatically inhibited mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP) opening and thus prevented mitochondrial-related cell death and apoptosis. Mechanistic studies revealed that NaHS preconditioning markedly increased the expression of phosphorylated protein kinase B (p-Akt), phosphorylated glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (p-GSK-3β) and B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) and decreased the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and cleaved caspase-3/9 levels. Therefore, NaHS administration prior to hepatic I/R ameliorates mitochondrial and hepatocellular damage through the inhibition of MPTP opening and the activation of Akt-GSK-3β signaling. Furthermore, this study provides experimental evidence for the clinical use of H2S to reduce liver damage after perioperative I/R injury. © 2013 Zhang et al.
Zhang, Q., Fu, H., Zhang, H., Xu, F., Zou, Z., Liu, M., … Shi, X. (2013). Hydrogen Sulfide Preconditioning Protects Rat Liver against Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury by Activating Akt-GSK-3β Signaling and Inhibiting Mitochondrial Permeability Transition. PLoS ONE, 8(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0074422