Chronic tribasic copper chloride exposure induces rat liver damage by disrupting the mitophagy and apoptosis pathways.

Affiliation

Yu W(1), Liao J(1), Yang F(2), Zhang H(1), Chang X(1), Yang Y(1), Bilal RM(3), Wei G(1), Liang W(1), Guo J(1), Tang Z(4).
Author information:
(1)College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, Guangdong, PR China.
(2)College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, Guangdong, PR China; Jiangxi Provincial Key Laboratory for Animal Health, Institute of Animal Population Health, College of Animal Science and Technology, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, PR China.
(3)Faculty of Veterinary and Animal Sciences, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur, 63100 Pakistan.
(4)College of Veterinary Medicine, South China Agricultural University, Guangzhou 510642, Guangdong, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]

Abstract

Despite the fact that copper (Cu) is a vital micronutrient to maintain body function, high doses of Cu through environmental exposure damage various organs, especially the liver, which is the main metabolic organ. To investigate the influence of long-term Cu-induced toxicity on mitophagy and apoptosis in rat liver, 96 seven-month-old male Sprague-Dawley rats were fed TBCC for 24 weeks. The results revealed that exposure to high Cu concentrations could promote oxidative stress liver injury by increasing the hepatic function index (ALT, AST and ALP) and MDA content, while reducing the activity of antioxidant enzymes (T-SOD, GSH-Px and CAT) related to oxidative stress. Consistent with histopathological observations, proper dietary Cu (15-60 mg/kg) could improve antioxidant stress levels and induce a dose-dependent increase in the mRNA expression of mitophagy-related genes, whereas a high Cu concentration (120 mg/kg) could cause severe liver impairment and ultrastructural changes and a reduction in mitophagosomes, accompanied by downregulation of Atg5, Beclin1, Pink1, Parkin, NIX, P62 and LC3B. The expression of apoptosis-related genes (Bax, Bax/Bcl-2, Caspase3, Cytc and p53) and proteins (Caspase3 and p53) was upregulated with the addition of dietary Cu. The results demonstrated that an appropriate dose of TBCC could improve liver function by promoting mitophagy and Cu enzymes that play antioxidative roles, while the accumulation of excess Cu could induce liver lesions by enhancing apoptosis and inhibiting mitophagy pathways.