Inhibitory effect of α-lipoic acid on thioacetamide-induced tumor promotion through suppression of inflammatory cell responses in a two-stage hepatocarcinogenesis model in rats

Yuta Fujii, Risa Segawa, Masayuki Kimura, Liyun Wang, Yuji Ishii, Ryuichi Yamamoto, Reiko Morita, Kunitoshi Mitsumori, Makoto Shibutani
Chemico-biological Interactions 2013 September 25, 205 (2): 108-18
To investigate the protective effect of α-lipoic acid (a-LA) on the hepatocarcinogenic process promoted by thioacetamide (TAA), we used a two-stage liver carcinogenesis model in N-diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-initiated and TAA-promoted rats. We examined the modifying effect of co-administered a-LA on the liver tissue environment surrounding preneoplastic hepatocellular lesions, with particular focus on hepatic macrophages and the mechanism behind the decrease in apoptosis of cells surrounding preneoplastic hepatocellular lesions during the early stages of hepatocellular tumor promotion. TAA increased the number and area of glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P)(+) liver cell foci and the numbers of proliferating and apoptotic cells in the liver. Co-administration with a-LA suppressed these effects. TAA also increased the numbers of ED2(+), cyclooxygenase-2(+), and heme oxygenase-1(+) hepatic macrophages as well as the number of CD3(+) lymphocytes. These effects were also suppressed by a-LA. Transcript levels of some inflammation-related genes were upregulated by TAA and downregulated by a-LA in real-time RT-PCR analysis. Outside the GST-P(+) foci, a-LA reduced the numbers of apoptotic cells, active caspase-8(+) cells and death receptor (DR)-5(+) cells. These results suggest that hepatic macrophages producing proinflammatory factors may be activated in TAA-induced tumor promotion. a-LA may suppress tumor-promoting activity by suppressing the activation of these macrophages and the subsequent inflammatory responses. Furthermore, a-LA may suppress tumor-promoting activity by suppressing the DR5-mediated extrinsic pathway of apoptosis and the subsequent regeneration of liver cells outside GST-P(+) foci.

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