In vivo consequence of vitamin C insufficiency in liver injury: vitamin C ameliorates T-cell-mediated acute liver injury in gulo(-/-) mice.
Antioxid Redox Signal. 2013 Dec 10 ;19(17):2040-53. Epub 2013 Apr 18. PMID: 23472641
AIM: l-ascorbic acid (vitamin C) insufficiency is considered one of the major risk factors for the development of liver disease. However, its specific effects and related mechanisms in vivo are largely unknown. The objective of this study was to investigate the in vivo protective role of vitamin C and its related mechanisms in liver injury with Gulo(-/-) mice that cannot synthesize vitamin C like humans due to the lack of l-gulonolactone-γ-oxidase (Gulo), an essential enzyme for vitamin C synthesis.
RESULTS: When liver injury was induced in Gulo(-/-) mice by injection of concanavalin A (Con A), there was greater extensive liver damage accompanied by an increased number of apoptotic hepatocytes in vitamin C-insufficient Gulo(-/-) mice. Additionally, the plasma and hepatic levels of the proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-α and IFN-γ, were much higher in the vitamin C-insufficient Gulo(-/-) mice than in the control mice. Moreover, increased numbers of liver-infiltrating T-cells in the vitamin C-insufficient Gulo(-/-) mice were related to the increased hepatic levels of IFN-inducible factor (IP-10). Although the vitamin C-insufficient Gulo(-/-) mice had higher amounts of interleukin-22 (IL-22), a hepatoprotective cytokine, a defect in IL-22Rα expression and its downstream STAT3 activation in hepatocytes were found.
INNOVATION: We first demonstrate the novel in vivo action mechanisms of vitamin C on the prevention of disease development in the liver, through the regulation of excessive immune activation and maintenance of the IL-22Rα signaling pathways.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that severe liver damage induced by inflammation could be prevented by sufficient supplementation with vitamin C.