Hepatopulmonary syndrome (HPS) is characterized by pulmonary vasodilation and arterial blood oxygen desaturation in patients with chronic liver disease. Generally, common bile duct ligation (CBDL) rats are a suitable experimental model for studying hepatopulmonary syndrome. Our previous study demonstrated that endotoxin surges markedly, followed by bacterial translocation and the loss of liver immune function in all the stages of CBDL, thereby contributing to the pathogenesis of HPS. However, the mechanisms behind the increase of the endotoxin and how to alleviate it have not yet been elucidated. Pulmonary injury induced by increased bilirubin, endotoxin, and inflammatory mediators occurs in the early and later stages of CBDL. This study assessed the effects of Tea polyphenols (TP) and Levofloxacin on endotoxin reduction and suppression of lung injury in HPS rats in the long and short term, respectively.
Morphological change of pulmonary injury, HPS relative index, endotoxin concentration, and the activation extent of Malondialdehyde (MDA) and Myeloperoxidase (MPO) were evaluated in CBDL rats with or without TP and Levofloxacin for three weeks or six weeks. The inflammation factors of serum, lung tissue, and BALF were then compared at the same condition for the two time periods. This was followed by adoption of the network pharmacology approach, which was mainly composed of active component gathering, target prediction, HPS gene collection, network analysis, and gene enrichment analysis. Finally, the mRNA and protein levels of the inflammatory factors were studied and relative signaling expression was assessed using RT-PCR and Western blot analysis.
The obtained results indicated that the pulmonary injury manifestation was perceived and endotoxin, MDA, and MPO activation were markedly increased in the early and later stages of CBDL. TP and Levofloxacin treatment alleviated endotoxin infection and inflammation factor expression three weeks and six weeks after CBDL. In addition, Levofloxacin displayed a short time anti-bacterial effect, while TP exerted a long period function. TP and Levofloxacin also reduced TNF-α, TGF-β, IL-1β, PDGF-BB, NO, ICAM-1, and ET-1 expression on the mRNA or protein expression. With regard to the pharmacological mechanism, the network analysis indicated that 12 targets might be the therapeutic targets of TP and Levofloxacin on HPS, namely ET-1, NOs3, VEGFa, CCl2, TNF, Ptgs2, Hmox1, Alb, Ace, Cav1, and Mmp9. The gene enrichment analysis implied that TP and Levofloxacin probably benefited patients with HPS by modulating pathways associated with the AGE-RAGE signaling pathway, the TNF signaling pathway, the HIF-1 signaling pathway, the VEGF signaling pathway, and the IL-17 signaling pathway, Rheumatoid arthritis, Fluid shear stress, and atherosclerosis. Finally, the TNF-α level was mainly diminished on the protein level following CBDL.
TP and Levofloxacin could alleviate pulmonary injury for short and long period, respectively, while at the same time preventing endotoxin and the development of HPS in CBDL rats. These effects are possibly associated with the regulation of the Endotoxin -TNF-α pathways.