Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is a prostanoid-synthesizing enzyme that is critically implicated in a variety of pathophysiological processes. Using a COX-2-deficient mouse model, we present data that suggest that COX-2 has an active role in liver ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. We demonstrate that COX-2-deficient mice had a significant reduction in liver damage after I/R insult. The inability of COX-2-/- to elaborate COX-2 products favored a Th2-type response in these mice. COX-2-/- livers after I/R injury showed significantly decreased levels of IL-2, as well as IL-12, a cytokine known to have a central role in Th1 effector cell differentiation. Moreover, such livers expressed enhanced levels of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, shifting the balance in favor of a Th2 response in COX-2-deficient mice. The lack of COX-2 expression resulted in decreased levels of CXCL2, a neutrophil-activating chemokine, reduced infiltration of MMP-9-positive neutrophils, and impaired late macrophage activation in livers after I/R injury. Additionally, Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL were normally expressed in COX-2-/- livers after injury, whereas respective wild-type controls were almost depleted of these two inhibitors of cell death. In contrast, caspase-3 activation and TUNEL-positive cells were depressed in COX-2-/- livers. Therefore, our data support the concept that COX-2 is involved in the pathogenic events occurring in liver I/R injury. The data also suggest that potential valuable therapeutic approaches in liver I/R injury may result from further studies aimed at identifying specific COX-2-derived prostanoid pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy