Negative regulation of diacylglycerol kinase theta mediates adenosine-dependent hepatocyte preconditioning

Cell Death Differ. 2010 Jun;17(6):1059-68. doi: 10.1038/cdd.2009.210. Epub 2010 Jan 8.


In liver ischemic preconditioning (IP), stimulation of adenosine A2a receptors (A2aR) prevents ischemia/reperfusion injury by promoting diacylglycerol-mediated activation of protein kinase C (PKC). By concerting diacylglycerol to phosphatidic acid, diacylglycerol kinases (DGKs) act as terminator of diacylglycerol signalling. This study investigates the role of DGK in the development of hepatocyte IP. DGK activity and cell viability were evaluated in isolated rat hepatocytes preconditioned by 10 min hypoxia followed by 10 min re-oxygenation or by the treatment with the A2aR agonist, CGS21680, and subsequently exposed to prolonged hypoxia. We observed that after IP or A2aR activation, a decrease in DGK activity was associated with the onset of hepatocyte tolerance to hypoxia. CGS21680-induced stimulation of A2aR specifically inhibited DGK isoform theta by activating RhoA-GTPase. Consistently, both siRNA-mediated downregulation of DGK theta and hepatocyte pretreatment with the DGK inhibitor R59949 induced cell tolerance to hypoxia. The pharmacological inhibition of DGK was associated with the diacylglycerol-dependent activation of PKC delta and epsilon and of their downstream target p38 MAPK. In conclusion, we unveil a novel signalling pathway contributing to the onset of hepatocyte preconditioning, which through RhoA-GTPase, couples A2aR to the downregulation of DGK. Such an inhibition is essential for the sustained accumulation of diacylglycerol required for triggering PKC-mediated survival signals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Cell Death
  • Cell Hypoxia
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase / metabolism*
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / enzymology*
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Male
  • Piperidines / pharmacology
  • Quinazolinones / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A / metabolism
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Piperidines
  • Quinazolinones
  • Receptor, Adenosine A2A
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • R 59949
  • Diacylglycerol Kinase
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein
  • Adenosine