Critical roles of calpastatin in ischemia/reperfusion injury in aged livers

Joseph Flores-Toro, Sung Kook Chun, Jun Kyu Shin, Joan Campbell, Melissa Lichtenberger, William Chapman, Ivan Zendejas, Kevin Behrns, Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, Jae Sung Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury unavoidably occurs during hepatic resection and trans-plantation. Aged livers poorly tolerate I/R during surgical treatment. Although livers have a powerful endogenous inhibitor of calpains, calpastatin (CAST), I/R activates calpains, leading to impaired autophagy, mitochondrial dysfunction, and hepatocyte death. It is unknown how I/R in aged livers affects CAST. Human and mouse liver biopsies at different ages were collected during in vivo I/R. Hepatocytes were isolated from 3-month-(young) and 26-month-old (aged) mice, and challenged with short in vitro simulated I/R. Cell death, protein expression, autophagy, and mito-chondrial permeability transition (MPT) between the two age groups were compared. Adenoviral vector was used to overexpress CAST. Significant cell death was observed only in reperfused aged hepatocytes. Before the commencement of ischemia, CAST expression in aged human and mouse livers and mouse hepatocytes was markedly greater than that in young counterparts. However, reper-fusion substantially decreased CAST in aged human and mouse livers. In hepatocytes, reperfusion rapidly depleted aged cells of CAST, cleaved autophagy-related protein 5 (ATG5), and induced defective autophagy and MPT onset, all of which were blocked by CAST overexpression. Furthermore, mitochondrial morphology was shifted toward an elongated shape with CAST overexpression. In conclusion, CAST in aged livers is intrinsically short-lived and lost after short I/R. CAST depletion contributes to age-dependent liver injury after I/R.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1863
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021


  • Autophagy 4
  • Calpastatin
  • Ischemia/reperfusion 3
  • Liver 2
  • Mitochondria 5


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