Published online Jun 21, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i23.3555
Revised: March 15, 2013
Accepted: April 10, 2013
Published online: June 21, 2013
Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury of the gut is a significant problem in a variety of clinical settings and is associated with a high morbidity and mortality. Although the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of gut I/R injury have not been fully elucidated, it is generally believed that oxidative stress with subsequent inflammatory injury plays an important role. Heme oxygenase (HO) is the rate-limiting enzyme in the catabolism of heme, followed by production of CO, biliverdin, and free iron. The HO system is believed to confer cytoprotection by inhibiting inflammation, oxidation, and apoptosis, and maintaining microcirculation. HO-1, an inducible form of HO, serves a vital metabolic function as the rate-limiting step in the heme degradation pathway, and affords protection in models of intestinal I/R injury. HO-1 system is an important player in intestinal I/R injury condition, and may offer new targets for the management of this condition.
Core tip: In this review, we focused on the heme oxygenase (HO)-1 system and its possible roles and mechanisms in gut ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury studied to date. This review, for the first time, reviews in detail the relationship between HO-1 and gut I/R injury.