Metabolic Signature of Ethanol-Induced Hepatotoxicity in HepaRG Cells by Liquid Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry-Based Untargeted Metabolomics

Elias Iturrospe, Katyeny Manuela da Silva, Rani Robeyns, Maria van de Lavoir, Joost Boeckmans, Tamara Vanhaecke, Alexander L.N. van Nuijs, Adrian Covaci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Alcoholic liver disease is highly prevalent but poorly identified and characterized, leading to knowledge gaps, which impairs early diagnosis. Excessive alcohol consumption is known to alter lipid metabolism, followed by progressive intracellular lipid accumulation, resulting in alcoholic fatty liver disease. In this study, HepaRG cells were exposed to ethanol at IC10 and 1/10 IC10 for 24 and 48 h. Metabolic alterations were investigated intra-and extracellularly with liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. Ion mobility was added as an extra separation dimension for untargeted lipidomics to improve annotation confidence. Distinctive patterns between exposed and control cells were consistently observed, with intracellular upregulation of di-and triglycerides, downregulation of phosphatidylcholines and phosphatidylethanolamines, sphingomyelins, and S-adenosylmethionine, among others. Several intracellular metabolic patterns could be related to changes in the extracellular environment, such as increased intracellular hydrolysis of sphingomyelins, leading to increased phosphorylcholine secretion. Carnitines showed alterations depending on the size of their carbon chain, which highlights the interplay between β-oxidation in mitochondria and peroxisomes. Potential new biomarkers of ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity have been observed, such as ceramides with a sphingadienine backbone, octanoylcarnitine, creatine, acetylcholine, and ethoxylated phosphorylcholine. The combination of the metabolic fingerprint and footprint enabled a comprehensive investigation of the pathophysiology behind ethanol-induced hepatotoxicity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1153-1166
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022

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