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World J Gastroenterol. Jun 21, 2013; 19(23): 3555-3561
Published online Jun 21, 2013. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v19.i23.3555
Heme oxygenase-1 and gut ischemia/reperfusion injury: A short review
Yu-Feng Liao, Wei Zhu, Dong-Pei Li, Xiao Zhu
Yu-Feng Liao, Department of Laboratory Medicine, Ningbo No. 2 Hospital, Ningbo 315010, Zhejiang Province, China
Wei Zhu, Xiao Zhu, Molecular Pathology Platform, Key Laboratory of Molecular Diagnosis, Guangdong Medical College, Dongguan 523808, Guangdong Province, China
Dong-Pei Li, Institute of Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Georgia Health Sciences University, Augusta, GA 30912, United States
Author contributions: Zhu X, Liao YF and Zhu W reviewed the literature and prepared the manuscript; Zhu X drafted the figure; Li DP reviewed the final version of the paper.
Supported by Natural Science Foundation of Ningbo City, No. 2012A610194; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 81071697; Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province, No. S2011040003694
Correspondence to: Xiao Zhu, PhD, Molecular Pathology Platform, Key Laboratory of Molecular Diagnosis, Guangdong Medical College, No. 1 Xincheng Road, Dongguan 523808, Guangdong Province, China.
Telephone: +86-769-22896373 Fax: +86-769-22896373
Received: January 2, 2013
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.

Keywords: Heme oxygenase, Ischemia/reperfusion injury, Oxidative stress, Cytoprotection, Gut

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.