Numerous steatotic livers are discarded for transplantation because of their poor tolerance of ischemia-reperfusion (I/R). The injurious effects of retinol-binding protein 4 (RBP4) in various pathologies are well documented. RBP4 levels are reduced by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma (PPARγ) agonists. Strategies aimed at increasing PPARγ protect steatotic livers under warm ischemia. Ischemic preconditioning (PC) based on brief periods of I/R protects steatotic liver grafts against I/R injury, but the responsible mechanism is poorly understood. We examined the roles of RBP4 and PPARγ in I/R injury associated with steatotic liver transplantation and the benefits of PC in such situations. We report that RBP4 and PPARγ expression levels in non-steatotic livers were similar to those found in the Sham group. However, reduced RBP4 and increased PPARγ levels were observed in steatotic livers. Treatment with either RBP4 or a PPARγ antagonist was effective only in steatotic livers. PC, which increased RBP4 levels, and RBP4 treatment both reduced PPARγ levels and hepatic injury in steatotic livers. When PPARγ was activated, neither RBP4 treatment nor PC (despite RBP4 induction) protected steatotic livers. In conclusion, steatotic liver grafts are more predisposed to down-regulate RBP4 and over-express PPARγ. RBP4 treatment and PC, through RBP4 induction, reduced PPARγ levels in steatotic liver grafts, thus protecting them from the PPARγ detrimental effects.
- Received December 3, 2010.
- Revision received March 29, 2011.
- Accepted April 8, 2011.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics