Ascorbic acid suppresses endotoxemia and NF-κB signaling cascade in alcoholic liver fibrosis in guinea pigs: A mechanistic approach

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Alcohol consumption increases the small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) and intestinal permeability of endotoxin. The endotoxin mediated inflammatory signaling plays a major role in alcoholic liver fibrosis. We evaluated the effect of ascorbic acid (AA), silymarin and alcohol abstention on the alcohol induced endotoxemia and NF-κB activation cascade pathway in guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). Guinea pigs were administered ethanol at a daily dose of 4 g/kg b.wt for 90 days. After 90 days, ethanol administration was stopped. The ethanol treated animals were divided into abstention, silymarin (250 mg/kg b.wt) and AA (250 mg/kg b.wt) supplemented groups and maintained for 30 days. The SIBO, intestinal permeability and endotoxin were significantly increased in the ethanol group. The mRNA expressions of intestinal proteins claudin, occludin and zona occludens-1 were significantly decreased in ethanol group. The mRNA levels of inflammatory receptors, activity of IKKβ and the protein expressions of phospho-IκBα, NF-κB, TNF-α, TGF-β1 and IL-6 were also altered in ethanol group. The expressions of fibrosis markers α-SMA, α1 (I) collagen and sirius red staining in the liver revealed the induction of fibrosis. But the supplementation of AA could induce greater reduction of ethanol induced SIBO, intestinal barrier defects, NF-κB activation and liver fibrosis than silymarin. The possible mechanism may be the inhibitory effect of AA on SIBO, intestinal barrier defect and IKKβ, which decreased the activation of NF-κB and synthesis of cytokines. This might have led to suppression of HSCs activation and liver fibrosis.Graphical abstractHighlightsAlcohol increases intestinal bacterial overgrowth and permeability of endotoxin.Endotoxin mediated inflammation plays a major role in alcoholic liver fibrosis.Ascorbic acid reduces endotoxemia, NF-κB activation and proinflammatory cytokines.AA's action is by inhibition of SIBO, IKKβ and alteration of intestinal permeability.This might have led to suppression of HSCs activation and liver fibrosis.

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