M1 Muscarinic Receptor Deficiency Attenuates Azoxymethane-Induced Chronic Liver Injury in Mice

Vikrant Rachakonda, Ravirajsinh N. Jadeja, Nathalie H. Urrunaga, Nirish Shah, Daniel Ahmad, Kunrong Cheng, William S. Twaddell, Jean Pierre Raufman, Sandeep Khurana

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10 Scopus citations


Cholinergic nervous system regulates liver injury. However, the role of M1 muscarinic receptors (M1R) in modulating chronic liver injury is uncertain. To address this gap in knowledge we treated M1R-deficient and WT mice with azoxymethane (AOM) for six weeks and assessed liver injury responses 14 weeks after the last dose of AOM. Compared to AOM-treated WT mice, M1R-deficient mice had attenuated liver nodularity, fibrosis and ductular proliferation, α-SMA staining, and expression of α1 collagen, Tgfβ-R, Pdgf-R, Mmp-2, Timp-1 and Timp-2. In hepatocytes, these findings were associated with reductions of cleaved caspase-3 staining and Tnf-α expression. In response to AOM treatment, M1R-deficient mice mounted a vigorous anti-oxidant response by upregulating Gclc and Nqo1 expression, and attenuating peroxynitrite generation. M1R-deficient mouse livers had increased expression of Trail-R2, a promotor of stellate cell apoptosis; dual staining for TUNNEL and α-SMA revealed increased stellate cells apoptosis in livers from M1R-deficient mice compared to those from WT. Finally, pharmacological inhibition of M1R reduced H2O2 -induced hepatocyte apoptosis in vitro. These results indicate that following liver injury, anti-oxidant response in M1R-deficient mice attenuates hepatocyte apoptosis and reduces stellate cell activation, thereby diminishing fibrosis. Therefore, targeting M1R expression and activation in chronic liver injury may provide therapeutic benefit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14110
JournalScientific reports
StatePublished - Sep 16 2015

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