Protective effect of dextromethorphan against endotoxic shock in mice

Guorong Li, Yuxin Liu, Nian Ssheng Tzeng, Gang Cui, Michelle L. Block, Belinda Wilson, Liya Qin, Tongguang Wang, Bin Liu, Jie Liu, Jau Shyong Hong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

48 Scopus citations


Dextromethorphan (DM) is a dextrorotatory morphinan and an over-the-counter non-opioid cough suppressant. We have previously shown that DM protects against LPS-induced dopaminergic neurodegeneration through inhibition of microglia activation. Here, we investigated protective effects of DM against endotoxin shock induced by lipopolysaccharide/D-galactosamine (LPS/GalN) in mice and the mechanism underlying its protective effect. Mice were given multiple injections of DM (12.5 mg/kg, s.c.) 30 min before and 2, 4 h after an injection of LPS/GalN (20 μg/700 mg/kg). DM administration decreased LPS/GalN-induced mortality and hepatotoxicity, as evidenced by increased survival rate, decreased serum alanine aminotransferase activity and improved pathology. Furthermore, DM was also effective when it was given 30 min after LPS/GalN injection. The protection was likely associated with reduced serum and liver tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) levels. DM also attenuated production of superoxide and intracellular reactive oxygen species in Kupffer cells and neutrophils. Real-time RT-PCR analysis revealed that DM administration suppressed the expression of a variety of inflammation-related genes such as macrophage inflammatory protein-2, CXC chemokine, thrombospondin-1, intercellular adhesion molecular-1 and interleukin-6. DM also decreased the expression of genes related to cell-death pathways, such as the DNA damage protein genes GADD45 and GADD153. In summary, DM is effective in protecting mice against LPS/GalN-induced hepatotoxicity, and the mechanism is likely through a faster TNF-α clearance, and decrease of superoxide production and inflammation and cell-death related components. This study not only extends neuroprotective effect of DM, but also suggests that DM may be a novel compound for the therapeutic intervention for sepsis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-240
Number of pages8
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 15 2005


  • DM
  • Gene expression
  • Inflammation
  • LPS/Ga1N
  • Liver injury
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Protective effect of dextromethorphan against endotoxic shock in mice'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Li, G., Liu, Y., Tzeng, N. S., Cui, G., Block, M. L., Wilson, B., Qin, L., Wang, T., Liu, B., Liu, J., & Hong, J. S. (2005). Protective effect of dextromethorphan against endotoxic shock in mice. Biochemical Pharmacology, 69(2), 233-240.