Kang X, Song Z, McClain CJ, Kang YJ, Zhou Z. Zinc supplementation enhances hepatic regeneration by preserving hepatocyte nuclear factor-4ain mice subjected to a long-term ethanol administration. Am J Pathol.2008; 172:916- 925.
Alcoholic liver disease is associated with sustained liver damage and impaired regeneration, as well as significant zinc deficiency. This study was undertaken to examine whether dietary zinc supplementation could improve liver regeneration by increasing the expression of genes involved in hepatic cellular proliferation in a mouse model of alcoholic liver disease. Adult 129S6 mice fed an ethanol-containing liquid diet for 6 months developed alcoholic liver disease as measured by serum alanine transferase activity and histopathological changes. Zinc supplementation to ethanol-exposed mice enhanced liver regeneration as indicated by increased numbers of proliferation cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)-positive and bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU)-labeled hepatocytes. Zinc-enhanced liver regeneration was associated with an increase in hepatocyte nuclear factor-4alpha (HNF-4alpha), a liver-enriched, zinc-finger transcription factor. Studies using cultured HepG2 cells showed that zinc deficiency suppressed cell proliferation and cell proliferation-related proteins, including hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I), insulin-like growth factor binding protein 1 (IGFBP1), metallothionein (MT), and cyclin D1, as well as HNF-4alpha. HNF-4alpha gene silencing inhibited cell proliferation in association with decreased protein levels of IGF-I, IGFBP1, MT, and cyclin D1. The present study provides evidence that zinc supplementation enhances liver regeneration at least in part by HNF-4alpha through the up-regulation of cell proliferation-related proteins, suggesting that dietary zinc supplementation may have beneficial effects in alcoholic liver disease.