Mini Review

Neutrophils: a cornerstone of liver ischemia and reperfusion injury

  • Laboratory Investigation volume 98, pages 5162 (2018)
  • doi:10.1038/labinvest.2017.90
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Abstract

Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is the main cause of morbidity and mortality due to graft rejection after liver transplantation. During IRI, an intense inflammatory process occurs in the liver. This hepatic inflammation is initiated by the ischemic period but occurs mainly during the reperfusion phase, and is characterized by a large neutrophil recruitment to the liver. Production of cytokines, chemokines, and danger signals results in activation of resident hepatocytes, leukocytes, and Kupffer cells. The role of neutrophils as the main amplifiers of liver injury in IRI has been recognized in many publications. Several studies have shown that elimination of excessive neutrophils or inhibition of their function leads to reduction of liver injury and inflammation. However, the mechanisms involved in neutrophil recruitment during liver IRI are not well known. In addition, the molecules necessary for this type of migration are poorly defined, as the liver presents an atypical sinusoidal vasculature in which the classical leukocyte migration paradigm only partially applies. This review summarizes recent advances in neutrophil-mediated liver damage, and its application to liver IRI. Basic mechanisms of activation of neutrophils and their unique mechanisms of recruitment into the liver vasculature are discussed. In particular, the role of danger signals, adhesion molecules, chemokines, glycosaminoglycans (GAGs), and metalloproteinases is explored. The precise definition of the molecular events that govern the recruitment of neutrophils and their movement into inflamed tissue may offer new therapeutic alternatives for hepatic injury by IRI and other inflammatory diseases of the liver.

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Affiliations

  1. Department of Biochemistry and Immunology, Immunopharmacology Laboratory, Federal University of Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brazil

    • Thiago Henrique Caldeira de Oliveira
    •  & Mauro Martins M Teixeira
  2. Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Rega Institute, Catholic University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

    • Thiago Henrique Caldeira de Oliveira
    •  & Paul Proost
  3. Program in Cell Biology, The Hospital of Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada

    • Pedro Elias Marques

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The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Paul Proost.