Calcitriol alleviates ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity via AMPK/mTOR-mediated autophagy


Excessive ethanol consumption causes cellular damage, leading to fetal alcohol syndrome and alcohol liver diseases, which are frequently seen with vitamin D (VD) deficiency. A great deal of progress has been achieved in the mechanisms of ethanol-induced hepatocyte damage. However, there are limited intervention means to reduce or rescue hepatocytes damage caused by ethanol. On the basis of our preliminary limited screen process, calcitriol showed a positive effect on protecting hepatocyte viability. Therefore, the molecular basis is worth elucidating. We found that calcitriol pretreatment markedly improved the cell viability, decreased cell apoptosis and oxidative stress and alleviated the abnormal mitochondrial morphology and membrane potential of hepatocytes induced by ethanol. Notably, autophagy was significantly enhanced by calcitriol, as evident by the increasing number of autophagosomes and autolysosomes, upregulated LC3B-Ⅱ and ATG5 levels, and promotion of p62 degradation. Furthermore, calcitriol pretreatment increased the colocalization of GFP-LC3-labeled autophagosomes with mitochondria, suggesting that calcitriol effectively promoted ethanol-induced mitophagy in hepatocytes. In addition, the inhibition of autophagy attenuated the protective and preventive effect of calcitriol. Furthermore, the effect of calcitriol on autophagy was regulated by AMPK/mTOR signaling, and signaling transduction was dependent on the Vitamin D receptor (VDR). In conclusion, calcitriol ameliorates ethanol-induced hepatocyte damage by enhancing autophagy. It may offer a convenient preventive and hepatoprotective mean for people on occasional social drink. Copyright © 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Authors Yuan F, Xu Y, You K, Zhang J, Yang F, Li YX
Journal Archives of biochemistry and biophysics
Publication Date 2021 Jan 15;697:108694
PubMed 33232716
DOI 10.1016/

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