We tested the hypothesis that ethanol impairs liver regeneration by abrogating receptor-mediated elevation of cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]i). In rats fed for 16 weeks with ethanol, hepatocellular proliferation induced by partial hepatectomy was greatly impaired. Similarly, EGF-induced DNA synthesis was reduced in cultured hepatocytes from ethanol-fed rats. There was no change in the number or affinity of EGF receptors on hepatocytes from ethanol-fed rats. Despite this, EGF-mediated production of inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (Ins[1,4,5]P3) was lower in hepatocytes from ethanol-fed rats, and the EGF-induced [Ca2+]i transient appeared to be abrogated. When vasopressin or phenylephrine were used as cell surface receptor ligands, hepatocytes cultured from ethanol-fed rats exhibited major reductions in Ins(1,4,5)P3 synthesis. This was associated with greatly truncated [Ca2+]i transients. These changes were not due to an effect on the Ins(1,4,5)P3 receptor on the endoplasmic reticulum or to a decrease in the size of the Ins(1,4,5)P3-mobilizable intracellular Ca+2 store. Further, mobilization of the same Ca2+ store by 2,5-di-tert-butylhydroquinone or thapsigargin restored the ability of hepatocytes from ethanol-fed rats to proliferate when exposed to EGF. It is concluded that chronic ethanol consumption inhibits liver regeneration by a mechanism that is, at least partly, the result of impaired receptor-operated [Ca2+]i signaling due to reduced generation of Ins(1,4,5)P3.
B H Zhang, B P Hornsfield, G C Farrell