Impaired liver regeneration in inducible nitric oxide synthase-deficient mice

Rudra M. Rai, Fung Yee J. Lee, Anthony Rosen, Shi Qi Yang, Hui Zhi Lin, Ayman Koteish, Foo Y. Liew, Carlos Zaragoza, Charles Lowenstein, Anna Mae Diehl

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214 Scopus citations


The mechanisms that permit adult tissues to regenerate when injured are not well understood. Initiation of liver regeneration requires the injury- related cytokines, tumor necrosis factor (TNF) α and interleukin (IL) 6, and involves the activation of cytokine-regulated transcription factors such as NF-κβ and STAT3. During regeneration, TNFα and IL-6 promote hepatocyte viability, as well as proliferation, because interventions that inhibit either cytokine not only block hepatocyte DNA synthesis, but also increase liver cell death. These observations suggest that the cytokines induce hepatoprotective factors in the regenerating liver. Given evidence that nitric oxide can prevent TNF-mediated activation of the pro-apoptotic protease caspase 3 and protect hepatocytes from cytokine-mediated death, cytokine-inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) may be an important hepatoprotective factor in the regenerating liver. In support of this hypothesis we report that the hepatocyte proliferative response to partial liver resection is severely inhibited in transgenic mice with targeted disruption of the iNOS gene. Instead, partial hepatectomy is followed by increased caspase 3 activity, hepatocyte death, and liver failure, despite preserved induction of TNFα, IL-6, NF-κβ, and STAT3. These results suggest that during successful tissue regeneration, injury-related cytokines induce factors, such as iNOS and its product, NO, that protect surviving cells from cytokine-mediated death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13829-13834
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number23
StatePublished - Nov 10 1998

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