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Glycyrrhizin Ameliorates Cardiac Injury in Rats with Severe Acute Pancreatitis by Inhibiting Ferroptosis via the Keap1/Nrf2/HO-1 Pathway.

BACKGROUND: Severe acute pancreatitis (SAP) is a potential fatal gastrointestinal disease that is usually complicated by myocardial injury and dysfunction. Due to the lack of understanding of the mechanism of SAP-associated cardiac injury (SACI), there is still no complete treatment.

AIMS: To explore the alleviative effect and anti-ferroptosis mechanism against SACI of glycyrrhizin (GL), an inhibitor of oxidative stress.

METHODS: The SAP model was established by perfusing 5% sodium taurocholate into biliopancreatic duct in rats. H&E staining and serum assays were used to assess the injury changes of pancreas and heart. Echocardiography was used to evaluate the cardiac function. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and oxidative stress assays were used to investigate the ferroptosis-related morphological and biochemical changes. Western blot and immunofluorescence were performed to analyzed the expression of ferroptosis-related proteins.

RESULTS: Significant myocardial impairment was found in SAP rats according to increased histopathological scores, serum creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) and cardiac troponin-I (cTnI) levels, and a decreased fractional shortening and ejection fraction. The decreased mitochondrial cristae and significant expression changes of ferroptosis-related proteins confirmed the presence of ferroptosis in SACI. GL treatment attenuated above-mentioned cardiac tissues damage by inhibiting ferroptosis via restoring the expression of Nrf2 and HO-1 in vivo and in vitro. Treating with ML385 (a Nrf2 inhibitor) or transfecting with siRNA-Nrf2 reversed the protective effect of GL.

CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate the involvement of ferroptosis in SACI and suggest a potential role for GL in the treatment of SACI by supressing ferroptosis via Keap1/Nrf2/HO-1 pathway.

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