Although adenosine A1 receptors (A1R) have been associated to ischemic preconditioning (IPC), direct evidence for their ability to preserve mitochondrial function upon hepatic preconditioning is still missing and could represent a novel strategy to boost the quality of liver transplants. We tested if the A1R antagonist 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-dipropylxanthine (DPCPX) prevented IPC in the liver and if the A1R agonist 2-chloro-N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CCPA) might afford a pharmacological preconditioning. Livers underwent a 120 min of 70% warm ischemia and 16 h of reperfusion (I/R), and the IPC group underwent a 5-min ischemic episode followed by a 10-min period of reperfusion before I/R. DPCPX or CCPA was administered intraperitoneally 2 h before IPC or I/R. The control of mitochondrial function emerged as the central element affected by IPC and controlled by endogenous A1R activation. Thus, livers from IPC- or CCPA-treated rats displayed an improved oxidative phosphorylation with higher state 3 respiratory rate, higher respiratory control ratio, increased ATP content, and decreased lag phase. IPC and CCPA also prevented the I/R-induced susceptibility to calcium-induced mitochondrial permeability transition, the rate of reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, and the decreased mitochondrial content of phospho-Ser9 GSK-3β. DPCPX abrogated these effects of IPC. These implicate the control of GSK-3β activity by Akt-mediated Ser9-GSK-3β phosphorylation preserving the efficiency of oxidative phosphorylation and ROS-mediated cell death in the ability of A1R activation to mimic IPC in the liver. In conclusion, the parallel between IPC and A1R-mediated preconditioning also paves the way to consider a putative therapeutic use of the later in liver transplants.
Keywords: Adenosine A1 receptors; GSK-3β, glycogen synthase kinase 3β; Ischemic preconditioning; Liver; Mitochondrial permeability transition; Oxidative phosphorylation.