Oxidative stress and inflammation are implicated in the process of liver regeneration. Lactulose orally administered can be bacterially fermented and induces dramatic amounts of endogenous hydrogen. Hydrogen has been confirmed to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This study investigated the potential influence of lactulose administration on liver regeneration. Antibiotics were used to suppress bacterial fermentation of lactulose, and hydrogen-rich saline was used as a supplementary measure of exogenous hydrogen. The liver regeneration model was produced in Sprague-Dawley rats through 70% partial hepatectomy. Compared with non-lactulose-treated group, lactulose administration remarkably increased the weights of remnant liver and inhibited increases in serum levels of transaminases more notably. In the lactulose-treated group, increases of markers for regeneration, such as proliferating cell nuclear antigen and cyclin D1, were highly elevated. Biochemically, lactulose administration increased liver superoxide dismutase activity and decreased malondialdehyde content. In the lactulose-treated group, excessive increases in inflammatory cytokines, such as interleukin-6 and tumor necrosis factor-α, were inhibited significantly. Increased heme oxygenase-1 and superoxide dismutase 2 expression were also observed after lactulose treatment. The antibiotics suppressed the regeneration-promoting effect of lactulose by reducing hydrogen production, whereas supplementing hydrogen by hydrogen-rich saline would get a similar regeneration-promoting effect as lactulose administration. Lactulose administration accelerates posthepatectomized liver regeneration in rats by inducing hydrogen, which may result from attenuation of the oxidative stress response and excessive inflammatory response.
Yu J, Zhang W, Zhang R, Ruan X, Ren P, Lu B. Lactulose accelerates liver regeneration in rats by inducing hydrogen. J Surg Res. 2015 May 1;195(1):128-35.