Aims: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is linked to binge drinking and cigarette smoking. Heavy chronic ± binge alcohol, or low-level exposures to dietary nitrosamines cause steatohepatitis with insulin resistance and oxidative stress in animal models. This study examines hepatotoxic effects of sub-mutagenic exposures to tobacco-specific nitrosamine (NNK) in relation to ALD. Methods: Long Evans rats were fed liquid diets containing 0 or 26% (caloric) ethanol (EtOH) for 8 weeks. In Weeks 3 through 8, rats were treated with NNK (2 mg/kg) or saline by i.p. injection, 3×/week, and in Weeks 7 and 8, EtOH-fed rats were binge-administered 2 g/kg EtOH 3×/week; controls were given saline. Results: EtOH ± NNK caused steatohepatitis with necrosis, disruption of the hepatic cord architecture, ballooning degeneration, early fibrosis, mitochondrial cytopathy and ER disruption. Severity of lesions was highest in the EtOH+NNK group. EtOH and NNK inhibited insulin/IGF signaling through Akt and activated pro-inflammatory cytokines, while EtOH promoted lipid peroxidation, and NNK increased apoptosis. O6-methyl-Guanine adducts were only detected in NNK-exposed livers. Conclusion: Both alcohol and NNK exposures contribute to ALD pathogenesis, including insulin/IGF resistance and inflammation. The differential effects of EtOH and NNK on adduct formation are critical to ALD progression among alcoholics who smoke.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding — This was supported by AA-11431, AA-12908, and a Diversity Supplement to AA-11431 from the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, T32 DK-60415 from NIDDK, and CA-81301 from the National Cancer Institute.
© The Author 2015. Medical Council on Alcohol and Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.