Activation of hepatic stellate cells in response to chronic inflammation represents a crucial step in the development of liver fibrosis. However, the molecules involved in the interaction between immune cells and stellate cells remain obscure. Herein, we identify the chemokine CCL5 (also known as RANTES), which is induced in murine and human liver after injury, as a central mediator of this interaction. First, we showed in patients with liver fibrosis that CCL5 haplotypes and intrahepatic CCL5 mRNA expression were associated with severe liver fibrosis. Consistent with this, we detected Ccl5 mRNA and CCL5 protein in 2 mouse models of liver fibrosis, induced by either injection of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) or feeding on a methionine and choline–deficient (MCD) diet. In these models, Ccl5–/– mice exhibited decreased hepatic fibrosis, with reduced stellate cell activation and immune cell infiltration. Transplantation of Ccl5-deficient bone marrow into WT recipients attenuated liver fibrosis, identifying infiltrating hematopoietic cells as the main source of Ccl5. We then showed that treatment with the CCL5 receptor antagonist Met-CCL5 inhibited cultured stellate cell migration, proliferation, and chemokine and collagen secretion. Importantly, in vivo administration of Met-CCL5 greatly ameliorated liver fibrosis in mice and was able to accelerate fibrosis regression. Our results define a successful therapeutic approach to reduce experimental liver fibrosis by antagonizing Ccl5 receptors.
Marie-Luise Berres, Rory R. Koenen, Anna Rueland, Mirko Moreno Zaldivar, Daniel Heinrichs, Hacer Sahin, Petra Schmitz, Konrad L. Streetz, Thomas Berg, Nikolaus Gassler, Ralf Weiskirchen, Amanda Proudfoot, Christian Weber, Christian Trautwein, Hermann E. Wasmuth
Organic anion transporting polypeptides (OATPs) are uptake transporters for a broad range of endogenous compounds and xenobiotics. To investigate the physiologic and pharmacologic roles of OATPs of the 1A and 1B subfamilies, we generated mice lacking all established and predicted mouse Oatp1a/1b transporters (referred to as Slco1a/1b–/– mice, as SLCO genes encode OATPs). Slco1a/1b–/– mice were viable and fertile but exhibited markedly increased plasma levels of bilirubin conjugated to glucuronide and increased plasma levels of unconjugated bile acids. The unexpected conjugated hyperbilirubinemia indicates that Oatp1a/1b transporters normally mediate extensive hepatic reuptake of glucuronidated bilirubin. We therefore hypothesized that substantial sinusoidal secretion and subsequent Oatp1a/1b-mediated reuptake of glucuronidated compounds can occur in hepatocytes under physiologic conditions. This alters our perspective on normal liver functioning. Slco1a/1b–/– mice also showed drastically decreased hepatic uptake and consequently increased systemic exposure following i.v. or oral administration of the OATP substrate drugs methotrexate and fexofenadine. Importantly, intestinal absorption of oral methotrexate or fexofenadine was not affected in Slco1a/1b–/– mice. Further analysis showed that rifampicin was an effective and specific Oatp1a/1b inhibitor in controlling methotrexate pharmacokinetics. These data indicate that Oatp1a/1b transporters play an essential role in hepatic reuptake of conjugated bilirubin and uptake of unconjugated bile acids and drugs. Slco1a/1b–/– mice will provide excellent tools to study further the role of Oatp1a/1b transporters in physiology and drug disposition.
Evita van de Steeg, Els Wagenaar, Cornelia M.M. van der Kruijssen, Johanna E.C. Burggraaff, Dirk R. de Waart, Ronald P.J. Oude Elferink, Kathryn E. Kenworthy, Alfred H. Schinkel
The cell death receptor Fas plays a role in the establishment of fulminant hepatitis, a major cause of drug-induced liver failure. Fas activation elicits extrinsic apoptotic and hepatoprotective signals; however, the mechanisms by which these signals are integrated during disease are unknown. Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases 3 (TIMP3) controls the critical sheddase a disintegrin and metalloproteinase 17 (ADAM17) and may dictate stress signaling. Using mice and cells lacking TIMP3, ADAM17, and ADAM17-regulated cell surface molecules, we have found that ADAM17-mediated ectodomain shedding of TNF receptors and EGF family ligands controls activation of multiple signaling cascades in Fas-induced hepatitis. We demonstrated that TNF signaling promoted hepatotoxicity, while excessive TNF receptor 1 (TNFR1) shedding in Timp3–/– mice was protective. Compound Timp3–/–Tnf–/– and Timp3–/–Tnfr1–/– knockout conferred complete resistance to Fas-induced toxicity. Loss of Timp3 enhanced metalloproteinase-dependent EGFR signaling due to increased release of the EGFR ligands TGF-α, amphiregulin, and HB-EGF, while depletion of shed amphiregulin resensitized Timp3–/– hepatocytes to apoptosis. Finally, adenoviral delivery of Adam17 prevented acetaminophen-induced liver failure in a clinically relevant model of Fas-dependent fulminant hepatitis. These findings demonstrate that TIMP3 and ADAM17 cooperatively dictate cytokine signaling during death receptor activation and indicate that regulated metalloproteinase activity integrates survival and death signals during acute hepatotoxic stress.
Aditya Murthy, Virginie Defamie, David S. Smookler, Marco A. Di Grappa, Keisuke Horiuchi, Massimo Federici, Maria Sibilia, Carl P. Blobel, Rama Khokha
PDGF-dependent hepatic stellate cell (HSC) recruitment is an essential step in liver fibrosis and the sinusoidal vascular changes that accompany this process. However, the mechanisms that regulate PDGF signaling remain incompletely defined. Here, we found that in two rat models of liver fibrosis, the axonal guidance molecule neuropilin-1 (NRP-1) was upregulated in activated HSCs, which exhibit the highly motile myofibroblast phenotype. Additionally, NRP-1 colocalized with PDGF-receptor β (PDGFRβ) in HSCs both in the injury models and in human and rat HSC cell lines. In human HSCs, siRNA-mediated knockdown of NRP-1 attenuated PDGF-induced chemotaxis, while NRP-1 overexpression increased cell motility and TGF-β–dependent collagen production. Similarly, mouse HSCs genetically modified to lack NRP-1 displayed reduced motility in response to PDGF treatment. Immunoprecipitation and biochemical binding studies revealed that NRP-1 increased PDGF binding affinity for PDGFRβ-expressing cells and promoted downstream signaling. An NRP-1 neutralizing Ab ameliorated recruitment of HSCs, blocked liver fibrosis in a rat model of liver injury, and also attenuated VEGF responses in cultured liver endothelial cells. In addition, NRP-1 overexpression was observed in human specimens of liver cirrhosis caused by both hepatitis C and steatohepatitis. These studies reveal a role for NRP-1 as a modulator of multiple growth factor targets that regulate liver fibrosis and the vascular changes that accompany it and may have broad implications for liver cirrhosis and myofibroblast biology in a variety of other organ systems and disease conditions.
Sheng Cao, Usman Yaqoob, Amitava Das, Uday Shergill, Kumaravelu Jagavelu, Robert C. Huebert, Chittaranjan Routray, Soha Abdelmoneim, Meher Vasdev, Edward Leof, Michael Charlton, Ryan J. Watts, Debabrata Mukhopadhyay, Vijay H. Shah
Hepatic fibrosis occurs during most chronic liver diseases and is driven by inflammatory responses to injured tissue. Because DCs are central to modulating liver immunity, we postulated that altered DC function contributes to immunologic changes in hepatic fibrosis and affects the pathologic inflammatory milieu within the fibrotic liver. Using mouse models, we determined the contribution of DCs to altered hepatic immunity in fibrosis and investigated the role of DCs in modulating the inflammatory environment within the fibrotic liver. We found that DC depletion completely abrogated the elevated levels of many inflammatory mediators that are produced in the fibrotic liver. DCs represented approximately 25% of the fibrotic hepatic leukocytes and showed an elevated CD11b+CD8– fraction, a lower B220+ plasmacytoid fraction, and increased expression of MHC II and CD40. Moreover, after liver injury, DCs gained a marked capacity to induce hepatic stellate cells, NK cells, and T cells to mediate inflammation, proliferation, and production of potent immune responses. The proinflammatory and immunogenic effects of fibrotic DCs were contingent on their production of TNF-α. Therefore, modulating DC function may be an attractive approach to experimental therapeutics in fibro-inflammatory liver disease.
Michael K. Connolly, Andrea S. Bedrosian, Jon Mallen-St. Clair, Aaron P. Mitchell, Junaid Ibrahim, Andrea Stroud, H. Leon Pachter, Dafna Bar-Sagi, Alan B. Frey, George Miller
Massive liver resection and small-for-size liver transplantation pose a therapeutic challenge, due to increased susceptibility of the remnant/graft to ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) and impaired regeneration. We investigated the dual role of complement in IRI versus regeneration in mice. Complement component 3 (C3) deficiency and complement inhibition with complement receptor 2–complement receptor 1–related protein y (CR2-Crry, an inhibitor of C3 activation) provided protection from hepatic IRI, and while C3 deficiency also impaired liver regeneration following partial hepatectomy (PHx), the effect of CR2-Crry in this context was dose dependent. In a combined model of IRI and PHx, either C3 deficiency or high-dose CR2-Crry resulted in steatosis, severe hepatic injury, and high mortality, whereas low-dose CR2-Crry was protective and actually increased hepatic proliferative responses relative to control mice. Reconstitution experiments revealed an important role for the C3a degradation product acylation-stimulating protein (ASP) in the balance between inflammation/injury versus regeneration. Furthermore, liver regeneration was dependent on the putative ASP receptor, C5L2. Several potential mechanisms of hepatoprotection and recovery were identified in mice treated with low-dose CR2-Crry, including enhanced IL-6 expression and STAT3 activation, reduced hepatic ATP depletion, and attenuated oxidative stress. These data indicate that a threshold of complement activation, involving ASP and C5L2, promotes liver regeneration and suggest a balance between complement-dependent injury and regeneration.
Songqing He, Carl Atkinson, Fei Qiao, Katherine Cianflone, Xiaoping Chen, Stephen Tomlinson
Biliary atresia is a neonatal obstructive cholangiopathy that progresses to end-stage liver disease. Although the etiology is unknown, a neonatal adaptive immune signature has been mechanistically linked to obstruction of the extrahepatic bile ducts. Here, we investigated the role of the innate immune response in the pathogenesis of biliary atresia. Analysis of livers of infants at diagnosis revealed that NK cells populate the vicinity of intrahepatic bile ducts and overexpress several genes involved in cytotoxicity. Using a model of rotavirus-induced biliary atresia in newborn mice, we found that activated NK cells also populated murine livers and were the most abundant cells in extrahepatic bile ducts at the time of obstruction. Rotavirus-primed hepatic NK cells lysed cholangiocytes in a contact- and Nkg2d-dependent fashion. Depletion of NK cells and blockade of Nkg2d each prevented injury of the duct epithelium after rotavirus infection, maintained continuity of duct lumen between the liver and duodenum, and enabled bile flow, despite the presence of virus in the tissue and the overexpression of proinflammatory cytokines. These findings identify NK cells as key initiators of cholangiocyte injury via Nkg2d and demonstrate that injury to the duct epithelium drives the phenotype of experimental biliary atresia.
Pranavkumar Shivakumar, Gregg E. Sabla, Peter Whitington, Claire A. Chougnet, Jorge A. Bezerra
Hepatic fibrosis develops as a response to chronic liver injury and almost exclusively occurs in a proinflammatory environment. However, the role of inflammatory mediators in fibrogenic responses of the liver is only poorly understood. We therefore investigated the role of CC chemokines and their receptors in hepatic fibrogenesis. The CC chemokines MIP-1α, MIP-1β, and RANTES and their receptors CCR1 and CCR5 were strongly upregulated in 2 experimental mouse models of fibrogenesis. Neutralization of CC chemokines by the broad-spectrum CC chemokine inhibitor 35k efficiently reduced hepatic fibrosis, and CCR1- and CCR5-deficient mice displayed substantially reduced hepatic fibrosis and macrophage infiltration. Analysis of fibrogenesis in CCR1- and CCR5-chimeric mice revealed that CCR1 mediates its profibrogenic effects in BM-derived cells, whereas CCR5 mediates its profibrogenic effects in resident liver cells. CCR5 promoted hepatic stellate cell (HSC) migration through a redox-sensitive, PI3K-dependent pathway. Both CCR5-deficient HSCs and CCR1- and CCR5-deficient Kupffer cells displayed strong suppression of CC chemokine–induced migration. Finally, we detected marked upregulation of RANTES, CCR1, and CCR5 in patients with hepatic cirrhosis, confirming activation of the CC chemokine system in human fibrogenesis. Our data therefore support a role for the CC chemokine system in hepatic fibrogenesis and suggest distinct roles for CCR1 and CCR5 in Kupffer cells and HSCs.
Ekihiro Seki, Samuele De Minicis, Geum-Youn Gwak, Johannes Kluwe, Sayaka Inokuchi, Christina A. Bursill, Josep M. Llovet, David A. Brenner, Robert F. Schwabe
The formation of polyploid cells is part of the developmental program of several tissues. During postnatal development, binucleated tetraploid cells arise in the liver, caused by failure in cytokinesis. In this report, we have shown that the initiation of cytokinesis failure events and the subsequent appearance of binucleated tetraploid cells are strictly controlled by the suckling-to-weaning transition in rodents. We found that daily light/dark rhythms and carbohydrate intake did not affect liver tetraploidy. In contrast, impairment of insulin signaling drastically reduced the formation of binucleated tetraploid cells, whereas repeated insulin injections promoted the generation of these liver cells. Furthermore, inhibition of Akt activity decreased the number of cytokinesis failure events, possibly through the mammalian target of rapamycin signaling complex 2 (mTORC2), which indicates that the PI3K/Akt pathway lies downstream of the insulin signal to regulate the tetraploidization process. To our knowledge, these results are the first demonstration in a physiological context that insulin signaling through Akt controls a specific cell division program and leads to the physiologic generation of binucleated tetraploid liver cells.
Séverine Celton-Morizur, Grégory Merlen, Dominique Couton, Germain Margall-Ducos, Chantal Desdouets
The forkhead box proteins A1 and A2 (Foxa1 and Foxa2) are transcription factors with critical roles in establishing the developmental competence of the foregut endoderm and in initiating liver specification. Using conditional gene ablation during a later phase of liver development, we show here that deletion of both Foxa1 and Foxa2 (Foxa1/2) in the embryonic liver caused hyperplasia of the biliary tree. Abnormal bile duct formation in Foxa1/2-deficient liver was due, at least in part, to activation of IL-6 expression, a proliferative signal for cholangiocytes. The glucocorticoid receptor is a negative regulator of IL-6 transcription; in the absence of Foxa1/2, the glucocorticoid receptor failed to bind to the IL-6 promoter, causing enhanced IL-6 expression. Thus, after liver specification, Foxa1/2 are required for normal bile duct development through prevention of excess cholangiocyte proliferation. Our data suggest that Foxa1/2 function as terminators of bile duct expansion in the adult liver through inhibition of IL-6 expression.
Zhaoyu Li, Peter White, Geetu Tuteja, Nir Rubins, Sara Sackett, Klaus H. Kaestner