Sexual dimorphism in reduced-size liver ischemia and reperfusion injury in mice: Role of endothelial cell nitric oxide synthase

Hirohisa Harada, Kevin P. Pavlick, Ian N. Hines, David J. Lefer, Jason M. Hoffman, Sulaiman Bharwani, Robert E. Wolf, Matthew B. Grisham

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48 Citations (Scopus)


We have recently reported that female mice are protected to a much greater extent from the injurious effects of reduced-size liver ischemia and reperfusion (RSL+I/R) than are males by an estrogen-dependent mechanism. The objective of this study was to examine the possibility that the protective effect observed in female mice depends on the up-regulation and/or activation of endothelial cell NO synthase (eNOS). Anesthetized female and male wild-type or eNOS-deficient C57BL/6 mice were subjected to 70% liver ischemia for 45 min followed by resection of the remaining 30% nonischemic lobes and reperfusion of ischemic tissue. Survival was monitored daily, whereas liver injury was quantified by using serum alanine aminotransferase determinations and histopathology. Hepatic eNOS mRNA, protein, and enzymatic activity were determined in male and female mice subjected to RSL+I/R. We found that liver injury was reduced and survival increased in female mice compared with males. This protective effect correlated with significant increases in hepatic eNOS message levels and enzyme activity but not protein expression compared with males subjected to the surgery. Furthermore, Nω-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester-treated or eNOS-deficient female mice responded to RSL+I/R with dramatic increases in liver injury and 100% mortality within 2 days of surgery. Finally, we found that pravastatin pretreatment significantly attenuated hepatocellular injury and increased survival of male mice, which was associated with enhanced expression of eNOS message. We conclude that the protective effect afforded female mice is due to the activation of hepatic eNOS activity and enhanced NO production.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)739-744
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 21 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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