Group II muscarinic acetylcholine receptors attenuate hepatic injury via Nrf2/ARE pathway


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Abstract

Parasympathetic nervous system dysfunction is common in patients with liver disease. We have previously shown that muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAchRs) play an important role in the regulation of hepatic fibrosis and that the receptor agonists and antagonists affect hepatocyte proliferation. However, little is known about the impact of the different mAchR subtypes and associated signaling pathways on liver injury. Here, we treated the human liver cell line HL7702 with 10 mmol/L carbon tetrachloride (CCL4) to induce hepatocyte damage. We found that CCL4 treatment increased the protein levels of group I mAchRs (M1, M3, M5) but reduced the expression of group II mAchRs (M2, M4) and activated the Nrf2/ARE and MAPK signaling pathways. Although overexpression of M1, M3, or M5 led to hepatocyte damage with an intact Nrf2/ARE pathway, overexpression of M2 or M4 increased, and siRNA-mediated knockdown of either M2 or M4 decreased the protein levels of Nrf2 and its downstream target genes. Moreover, CCL4 treatment increased serum ALT levels more significantly, but only induced slight changes in the expression of mAchRs, NQO1 and HO1, while reducing the expression of M2 and M4 in liver tissues of Nrf2−/− mice compared to wild type mice. Our findings suggest that group II mAchRs, M2 and M4, activate the Nrf2/ARE signaling pathway, which regulates the expression of M2 and M4, to protect the liver from CCL4-induced injury.HighlightsCCL4-induced damage increased M1/3/5 but reduced M2/4 levels in hepatocytes.Nrf2/ARE, AKT and MAPK pathways were involved in CCL4-induced hepatocytes injury.M2 and M4 mediated protective effects in hepatocytes via Nrf2/ARE pathway.Nrf2 regulated the expression of mAchRs.

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