In alcoholic pancreatitis, alcohol increases gut permeability, which increases the penetration of endotoxins, such as lipopolysaccharides (LPS). LPS act as clinically significant triggers to increase pancreatic damage in alcoholic pancreatitis. Ethanol or LPS treatment increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in pancreatic acinar cells. ROS induce inflammatory cytokine production in pancreatic acinar cells, leading to pancreatic inflammation. The nuclear erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) pathway is activated as a cytoprotective response to oxidative stress, and induces the expression of NAD(P)H quinone oxidoreductase 1 (NQO1) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1). Ly-copene exerts anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects in various cells. We previously showed that lycopene inhibits NADPH oxidase to reduce ROS and IL-6 levels, and zymogene activation in ethanol or palmitoleic acid-treated pancreatic acinar cells. In this study, we examined whether lycopene inhibits IL-6 expression by activating the Nrf2/NQO1-HO-1 pathway, and reducing intracellular and mitochondrial ROS levels, in ethanol and LPS-treated pancreatic AR42J cells. Lycopene increased the phosphorylated and nuclear-translocated Nrf2 levels by decreasing the amount of Nrf2 sequestered in the cytoplasm via a complex formation with Kelch-like ECH1-associated protein 1 (Keap1). Using exogenous inhibitors targeting Nrf2 and HO-1, we showed that the upregulation of activated Nrf2 and HO-1 results in lycopene-induced suppression of IL-6 expression and ROS production. The consumption of lycopene-rich foods may prevent the development of ethanol and LPS-associated pancreatic inflammation by activating Nrf2-mediated expression of NQO1 and HO-1, thereby decreasing ROS-mediated IL-6 expression in pancreatic acinar cells.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported, in part, by Brain Korea 21 FOUR project, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea.
© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Cell Biology