Ischemia / reperfusion (I / R) injury is related to tissue graft energy status. Insulin, which is currently used in the University of Wisconsin (UW) preservation solution with insulin (UWI), is an anabolic hormone and was shown to exacerbate the hepatic I / R injury in our previous study. In this study, the energy status and regulation of metabolism genes by insulin were investigated in liver grafts preserved by UW solution. Insulin could significantly decrease adenosine triphosphate (ATP) level after 3 hours of preservation, as well as total adenine nucleotides (TANs) and energy charge (EC) levels. Energy regeneration deteriorated in the grafts preserved by insulin in terms of ATP and EC levels at 24 hours after transplantation. The insulin signal was transduced through the insulin receptor substrate-2 (IRS-2) pathway and the activity of IRS-2 was decreased gradually at the messenger ribonucleic acid (mRNA) level during cold preservation. Downstream targeting genes such as sterol regulatory element-binding protein-1c (SREBP-1c), glucokinase (GKC), and fatty acid synthase (FAS) genes, as well as phospho-glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) were activated and they showed the similar expression profiles during cold preservation. Lipoprotein metabolism was accelerated by insulin through upregulation of the activity of apolipoprotein C-III (Apo C-III) during cold preservation. The insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-1 pathway was inhibited during cold preservation. In conclusion, insulin in UW solution exacerbates hepatic I / R injury by energy depletion as the graft maintains its anabolic activity. The key enzyme activities of the energy-consuming process of glycogen and fatty acid synthesis as well as lipoprotein metabolism were accelerated by insulin through the IRS-2 / SREBP-1c pathway.
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