Background/aims: mGlu5 metabotropic glutamate receptor antagonists protect rat hepatocytes against hypoxic death. Here, we have examined whether mGlu5 receptor antagonists are protective against liver damage induced by oxidative stress.
Methods: Toxicity of isolated hepatocytes was induced by tert-butylhydroperoxide (t-BuOOH) after pretreatment with the mGlu5 receptor antagonists, MPEP, SIB-1757 and SIB-1893. The effect of these drugs was also examined in mice challenged with toxic doses of acetaminophen.
Results: Addition of tBuOOH (0.5 mM) to isolated hepatocytes induced cell death (70+/-5% at 3 h). Addition of MPEP or SIB-1893 to hepatocytes reduced both the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and cell toxicity induced by t-BuOOH (tBuOOH=70+/-5%; tBuOOH+MPEP=57+/-6%; tBuOOH+SIB-1893=40+/-4%). In mice, a single injection of acetaminophen (300 mg/kg, i.p.) induced centrilobular liver necrosis, which was detectable after 24 h. MPEP (20 mg/kg, i.p.) substantially reduced liver necrosis and the production of ROS, although it did not affect the conversion of acetaminophen into the toxic metabolite, N-acetylbenzoquinoneimine. MPEP, SIB-1893 and SIB-1757 (all at 20 mg/kg, i.p.) also reduced the increased expression and activity of liver iNOS induced by acetaminophen.
Conclusions: We conclude that pharmacological blockade of mGlu5 receptors might represent a novel target for the treatment of drug-induced liver damage.