Nano-designed carbon monoxide donor SMA/CORM2 exhibits protective effect against acetaminophen induced liver injury through macrophage reprograming and promoting liver regeneration

Bingdong Song, Cheng Zhang, Weirong Hu, Chunyu Guo, Zhengmei Xia, Wanxia Hu, Mingqiang Qin, Weiying Jiang, Jinwei Lv, Dexiang Xu, Shichen Zhang, Jun Fang
Journal of Controlled Release 2021 January 19
Acetaminophen (APAP) induced liver injury is the most common drug-induced liver injury, accounting for the top cause of acute liver failure in the United State, however the therapeutic options for it is very limited. Excess generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the subsequent inflammatory responses are the major factors of the liver injury. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an important gaseous molecule with versatile functions including anti-oxidation and anti-inflammation, and we previous reported the therapeutic potential of a nano-designed CO donor SMA/CORM2 in a dextran sulphate sodium (DSS) induced mouse colitis model. In this context, we investigated the effect of SMA/CORM2 in an APAP-induced mouse acute liver injury model and tackled the mechanisms involved. We found upregulation of heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1, endogenous CO generating enzyme) and the dynamics of macrophage polarization (pro-inflammatory M1/anti-inflammatory M2), which played important protective role in the process of live injury. SMA/CORM2 treatment remarkably increased the CO levels in the liver and circulation, by which oxidative stresses in the liver were significantly reduced, and more importantly, it remarkably suppressed the expression of M1 macrophages but alternatively increased M2 polarization. Consequently the liver injury was significantly ameliorated, and the proliferation and regeneration were greatly promoted through the Pi3k/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. The shift of macrophage polarization accompanied with the downregulated hypoxia-inducible factor-1α (HIF-1α) level. These findings suggested CO released from SMA/CORM2 manipulated the macrophage reprogramming toward M2 phenotype by inhibiting HIF-1α, which subsequently protected liver against inflammatory injury and benefited tissue repair. Moreover, compared to native CORM2, SMA/CORM2 exhibited superior bioavailability and protective effect. We thus anticipate the application of SMA/CORM2 as a therapeutic regimen for APAP induced liver injury as well as other inflammatory diseases and disorders.

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