Hydrogen gas alleviates acute ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity in mice via modulating TLR4/9 innate immune signaling and pyroptosis

Alcoholic liver disease (ALD), which is induced by chronic heavy alcohol consumption, accompanies complicated pathological mechanisms, including oxidative stress, inflammation, cell death, epigenetic changes and acetaldehyde-mediated toxicity. Hydrogen (H2) is the lightest gas with multiple biological effects such as high selective anti-oxidation, anti-inflammation and anti-apoptosis. However, the dose effects and innate immune mechanisms of intraperitoneal injection of H2 on ALD are limited. Here, we used acute ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity mice models to estimate the actions of intraperitoneal injection of H2 on ALD. The effects of H2 on acute ethanol-induced liver damage were examined by hepatic oil red O staining, quantitative PCR (qPCR) for lipid metabolic genes, hepatic triglyceride (TG) and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels. Hepatic mitochondrial superoxide (MitoSOX), 3-nitrotyrosine (3-NT), malondialdehyde (MDA), and glutathione (GSH) levels were examined to evaluate oxidative stress. Immunoblot, and immunofluorescence staining were used to further confirm the innate immune molecular targets of H2. Our results showed that intraperitoneal injection of H2 improved acute ethanol-induced liver injury in mice in a dose dependent manner, as indicated by decreasing serum ALT and AST levels, hepatic TG levels, and increasing lipid export genes (Mttp and Apob) mRNA levels and reducing fatty acid uptake gene (CD36) mRNA levels. Mechanistically, H2 inhibited hepatic oxidative stress as indicated by reducing reactive oxygen species (ROS), 3-NT, and MDA levels in the liver, while increasing hepatic GSH levels; inhibited the overactived TLR4/9-NF-κB-TNF-α/IL-1β/IL-18 innate immune signaling; suppressed the canonical Caspase-1-GSDMD pyroptosis signaling, and the non-canonical pyroptosis signaling, such as Caspase-11-GSDMD, Caspase-8-GSDMD and Caspase-3-GSDME signaling. Therefore, our study highlights that intraperitoneal injection of H2 may represent a novel therapeutic and safe strategy for ALD via modulating oxidative stress, innate immunity and pyroptosis.