• Chronic-plus-binge alcohol intake induces production of proinflammatory mtDNA-enriched extracellular vesicles and steatohepatitis via ASK1/p38MAPKα-dependent mechanisms

      Ma, Jing; Cao, Haixia; Rodrigues, Robim M; Xu, Mingjiang; Ren, Tianyi; He, Yong; Hwang, Seonghwan; Feng, Dechun; Ren, Ruixue; Yang, Peixin; et al. (The American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2020-07-23)
      Alcohol-associated liver disease is a spectrum of liver disorders with histopathological changes ranging from simple steatosis to steatohepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Recent data suggest that chronic-plus-binge ethanol intake induces steatohepatitis by promoting release by hepatocytes of proinflammatory mitochondrial DNA-enriched (mtDNA-enriched) extracellular vesicles (EVs). The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of the stress kinase apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38) in chronic-plus-binge ethanol-induced steatohepatitis and mtDNA-enriched EV release. Microarray analysis revealed the greatest hepatic upregulation of metallothionein 1 and 2 (Mt1/2), which encode 2 of the most potent antioxidant proteins. Genetic deletion of the Mt1 and Mt2 genes aggravated ethanol-induced liver injury, as evidenced by elevation of serum ALT, neutrophil infiltration, oxidative stress, and ASK1/p38 activation in the liver. Inhibition or genetic deletion of Ask1 or p38 ameliorated ethanol-induced liver injury, inflammation, ROS levels, and expression of phagocytic oxidase and ER stress markers in the liver. In addition, inhibition of ASK1 or p38 also attenuated ethanol-induced mtDNA-enriched EV secretion from hepatocytes. Taken together, these findings indicate that induction of hepatic mtDNA-enriched EVs by ethanol is dependent on ASK1 and p38, thereby promoting alcoholic steatohepatitis.