Tissue transglutaminase does not affect fibrotic matrix stability or regression of liver fibrosis in mice.
ABSTRACT: The ubiquitous cross-linking enzyme tissue transglutaminase (TG2) has been implicated in irreversible collagen stabilization in liver fibrosis, although functional evidence is lacking. We studied the contribution of TG2 to hepatic fibrotic matrix stability, as well as liver fibrosis progression and regression in TG2-deficient mice.Advanced liver fibrosis was induced by carbon tetrachloride or thioacetamide in TG2(-/-) mice and their wild-type littermates to study fibrosis progression and its spontaneous regression for up to 36 weeks. Pattern and extent of fibrosis were analyzed by histology and hepatic hydroxyproline quantification. Dynamic changes in hepatic matrix cross-linking were assessed by stepwise collagen extraction. Expression of 7 TGs and fibrosis-related genes was determined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.Transglutaminase activity was increased in fibrosis, and the level of TG2 messenger RNA correlated with the expression of fibrosis-related genes. Biochemical analysis revealed progressive collagen stabilization, with an up to 6-fold increase in the highly cross-linked, pepsin-insoluble fraction (26%). In TG2(-/-) mice, hepatic TG activity was significantly decreased, but chronic administration of carbon tetrachloride or thioacetamide led to a comparable extent and pattern of liver fibrosis, as in wild-type mice. In TG2(-/-) mice, the composition of hepatic collagen fractions and levels of fibrosis-related transcripts were unchanged, and fibrosis reversal was not facilitated.TG2 and TG activity are up-regulated during hepatic fibrosis progression, but do not contribute to fibrogenesis or stabilization of the collagen matrix. TG2 deletion does not promote regression of liver fibrosis. TG2-independent collagen cross-linking is a remarkable feature of progressing hepatic fibrosis and represents an important therapeutic target for liver fibrosis.
Project description:Despite high morbidity and mortality of alcoholic liver disease worldwide, the molecular mechanisms underlying alcohol-induced liver cell death are not fully understood. Transglutaminase 2 (TG2) is a cross-linking enzyme implicated in apoptosis. TG2 levels and activity are increased in association with various types of liver injury. However, how TG2 induces hepatic apoptosis is not known.Human hepatic cells or primary hepatocytes from rats or TG2+/+ and TG2-/- mice were treated with ethanol. Mice were administered anti-Fas antibody or alcohol. Liver sections were prepared from patients with alcoholic steatohepatitis. Changes in TG2 levels, Sp1 cross-linking and its activities, expression of hepatocyte growth factor receptor, c-Met, and hepatic apoptosis were measured.Ethanol induced apoptosis in hepatic cells, enhanced activity and nuclear accumulation of TG2 as well as accumulation of cross-linked and inactivated Sp1, and reduced expression of the Sp1-responsive gene, c-Met. These effects were rescued by TG2 knockdown, restoration of functional Sp1, or addition of hepatocyte growth factor, whereas apoptosis was reproduced by Sp1 knockdown or TG2 overexpression. Compared with TG2+/+ mice, TG2-/- mice showed markedly reduced hepatocyte apoptosis and Sp1 cross-linking following ethanol or anti-Fas treatment. Treatment of TG2+/+ mice with the TG2 inhibitors putrescine or cystamine blocked anti-Fas-induced hepatic apoptosis and Sp1 silencing. Moreover, enhanced expression of cross-linked Sp1 and TG2 was evident in hepatocyte nuclei of patients with alcoholic steatohepatitis.TG2 induces hepatocyte apoptosis via Sp1 cross-linking and inactivation, with resultant inhibition of the expression of c-Met required for hepatic cell viability.
Project description:Keratins 8 and 18 (K8/K18) are important hepatoprotective proteins. Animals expressing K8/K18 mutants show a marked susceptibility to acute/subacute liver injury. K8/K18 variants predispose to human end-stage liver disease and associate with fibrosis progression during chronic hepatitis C infection. We sought direct evidence for a keratin mutation-related predisposition to liver fibrosis using transgenic mouse models because the relationship between keratin mutations and cirrhosis is based primarily on human association studies.Mouse hepatofibrosis was induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) or thioacetamide. Nontransgenic mice, or mice that over express either human Arg89-to-Cys (R89C mice) or wild-type K18 (WT mice) were used. The extent of fibrosis was evaluated by quantitative real-time reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction of fibrosis-related genes, liver hydroxyproline measurement, and Picro-Sirius red staining and collagen immunofluorescence staining.Compared with control animals, CCl(4) led to similar liver fibrosis but increased injury in K18 R89C mice. In contrast, thioacetamide caused more severe liver injury and fibrosis in K18 R89C as compared with WT and nontransgenic mice and resulted in increased messenger RNA levels of collagen, tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 1, matrix metalloproteinase 2, and matrix metalloproteinase 13. Analysis in nontransgenic mice showed that thioacetamide and CCl(4) have dramatically different molecular expression responses involving cytoskeletal and chaperone proteins.Over expression of K18 R89C predisposes transgenic mice to thioacetamide- but not CCl(4)-induced liver fibrosis. Differences in the keratin mutation-associated fibrosis response among the 2 models raise the hypothesis that keratin variants may preferentially predispose to fibrosis in unique human liver diseases. Findings herein highlight distinct differences in the 2 widely used fibrosis models.
Project description:The microRNA-29 (miR-29) family is known to suppress the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and reversibly control liver fibrosis; however, the mechanism of how miR-29a controls liver fibrosis remains largely unknown. This study was conducted to clarify the mechanism of anti-fibrotic effect of miR-29a and to explore if miR-29a is a promising candidate for nucleic acid medicine against liver fibrosis. Two liver fibrosis murine models (carbon tetrachloride or thioacetamide) were used. MiR-29a mixed with atelocollagen was systemically administered. Hepatic fibrosis was evaluated by histological analysis and the expression levels of fibrosis-related genes. We observed that miR-29a treatment dramatically accelerated the reversion of liver fibrosis in vivo. Additionally, miR-29a regulated the mRNA expression of collagen type I alpha 1 (COL1A1) and platelet-derived growth factor C (PDGFC). We also noted that miR-29a significantly suppressed COL1A1 mRNA expression and cell viability and significantly increased caspase-9 activity (P < 0.05) in LX-2 cells. Pretreatment of miR-29a inhibited activation of LX-2 cell by transforming growth factor beta treatment. MiR-29a exhibited anti-fibrotic effect without cell toxicity in vivo and directly suppressed the expression of PDGF-related genes as well as COL1A1 and induced apoptosis of LX-2 cells. MiR-29a is a promising nucleic acid inhibitor to target liver fibrosis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with the progression of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to steatohepatitis and fibrosis. This progression correlates with the severity of OSA-associated hypoxia. In mice with diet induced obesity, hepatic steatosis leads to liver tissue hypoxia, which worsens with exposure to intermittent hypoxia. Emerging data has implicated hepatocyte cell signaling as an important factor in hepatic fibrogenesis. We hypothesized that hepatocyte specific knockout of the oxygen sensing ? subunit of hypoxia inducible factor-1 (HIF-1), a master regulator of the global response to hypoxia, may be protective against the development of liver fibrosis.<h4>Methods</h4>Wild-type mice and mice with hepatocyte-specific HIF-1? knockout (Hif1a-/-hep) were fed a high trans-fat diet for six months, as a model of NAFLD. Hepatic fibrosis was evaluated by Sirius red stain and hydroxyproline assay. Liver enzymes, fasting insulin, and hepatic triglyceride content were also assessed. Hepatocytes were isolated from Hif1a-/-hep mice and wild-type controls and were exposed to sustained hypoxia (1% O2) or normoxia (16% O2) for 24 hours. The culture media was used to reconstitute type I collagen and the resulting matrices were examined for collagen cross-linking.<h4>Results</h4>Wild-type mice on a high trans-fat diet had 80% more hepatic collagen than Hif1a-/-hep mice (2.21 ?g collagen/mg liver tissue, versus 1.23 ?g collagen/mg liver tissue, p = 0.03), which was confirmed by Sirius red staining. Body weight, liver weight, mean hepatic triglyceride content, and fasting insulin were similar between groups. Culture media from wild-type mouse hepatocytes exposed to hypoxia allowed for avid collagen cross-linking, but very little cross-linking was seen when hepatocytes were exposed to normoxia, or when hepatocytes from Hif1a-/-hep mice were used in hypoxia or normoxia.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Hepatocyte HIF-1 mediates an increase in liver fibrosis in a mouse model of NAFLD, perhaps due to liver tissue hypoxia in hepatic steatosis. HIF-1 is necessary for collagen cross-linking in an in vitro model of fibrosis.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>Hepatic fibrosis is a type of liver disease characterized by excessive collagen deposition produced by activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), and no appropriate drug treatment is available clinically. The microRNA, miR-21 exhibits an important role in the pathogenesis and progression of hepatic fibrosis. 3,3'-Diindolylmethane (DIM) is a natural autolytic product in plants and can down-regulate miR-21 expression. Here we have assessed the therapeutic effects of DIM against hepatic fibrosis and investigated the underlying mechanisms.<h4>Experimental approach</h4>The effects of DIM on HSC activation were measured by analysing the expression of ?-smooth muscle actin and collagen I in both HSC-T6 cell line and primary HSCs. Expression of miR-21 was also measured after DIM treatment and the therapeutic effect of DIM was further studied in vivo, using the model of hepatic fibrosis induced by thioacetamide in mice. The antagonist oligonucleotide, antagomir-21, was also used to suppress the effects of miR-21.<h4>Key results</h4>DIM suppressed the central TGF-? signalling pathway underlying HSC activation by down-regulating the expression of miR-21. The decreased miR-21 expression was achieved by inhibiting the activity of the transcription factor, AP-1. Moreover, DIM blunted the activation phenotype of primary HSCs. Administration of DIM?in vivo attenuated liver fibrosis induced by thioacetamide, as assessed by collagen deposition and profiles of profibrogenic markers.<h4>Conclusions and implications</h4>DIM shows potential as a therapeutic agent for the treatment of hepatic fibrosis.
Project description:The transglutaminase (TG) family comprises eight isozymes that form the isopeptide bonds between glutamine and lysine residues and contribute to the fibrotic diseases via crosslinking-mediated stabilization of ECM and the activation of TGF-? in several tissues. However, despite a growing body of evidence implicating TG2 as a key enzyme in fibrosis, the causative role of TG2 and the involvement of the other isozymes have not yet been fully elucidated. Therefore, here we clarified the distributions of TG isozymes and their in situ activities and identified the isozyme-specific possible substrates for both TG1 and TG2 using their substrate peptides in mouse fibrotic liver. We found that TG1 activity was markedly enhanced intracellularly over a widespread area, whereas TG2 activity increased in the extracellular space. In total, 43 and 42 possible substrates were identified for TG1 and TG2, respectively, as involved in chromatin organization and cellular component morphogenesis. These included keratin 18, a biomarker for hepatic injury, which was accumulated in the fibrotic liver and showed the partly similar distribution with TG1 activity. These findings suggest that TG1 activity may be involved in the functional modification of intracellular proteins, whereas TG2 activity contributes to the stabilization of extracellular proteins during liver fibrosis.
Project description:Translocation of bacteria and their products across the intestinal barrier is common in patients with liver disease, and there is evidence that experimental liver fibrosis depends on bacterial translocation. The purpose of our study was to investigate liver fibrosis in conventional and germ-free (GF) C57BL/6 mice. Chronic liver injury was induced by administration of thioacetamide (TAA) in the drinking water for 21 wk or by repeated intraperitoneal injections of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). Increased liver fibrosis was observed in GF mice compared with conventional mice. Hepatocytes showed more toxin-induced oxidative stress and cell death. This was accompanied by increased activation of hepatic stellate cells, but hepatic mediators of inflammation were not significantly different. Similarly, a genetic model using Myd88/Trif-deficient mice, which lack downstream innate immunity signaling, had more severe fibrosis than wild-type mice. Isolated Myd88/Trif-deficient hepatocytes were more susceptible to toxin-induced cell death in culture. In conclusion, the commensal microbiota prevents fibrosis upon chronic liver injury in mice. This is the first study describing a beneficial role of the commensal microbiota in maintaining liver homeostasis and preventing liver fibrosis.
Project description:We previously reported a profound augmentation in the hepatic levels of a pro-inflammatory precursor, arachidonic acid (AA), during liver tumorigenesis. Here, we report a critical role of the induced reactive oxygen species (ROS)-mediated cellular activation of a protein cross-linking enzyme, transglutaminase 2 (TG2), in liver injury by AA. In cultures of hepatic cells, AA dose-dependently suppressed cell growth, which accompanied the induced nuclear accumulation of TG2, as demonstrated in EGFP-tagged, TG2-overexpressing hepatic cells. A chemical inhibitor/shRNA that acts against TG2 prevented AA-mediated cell growth suppression. In addition, AA provoked significant production of ROS, and antioxidants blocked AA-induced activation of nuclear TG2 and hepatic cell growth suppression. We propose that AA-mediated oxidative stress and TG2 transamidase activity might contribute to chronic liver injury and inflammation and thereby serve as potential therapeutic targets for the chemoprevention of hepatocellular carcinoma.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Chronic liver diseases feature excessive collagen and matrix protein deposition or crosslinking that characterises fibrosis, leads to scar tissue, and disrupts liver functions. There is no effective treatment. This study investigated whether treatment with selective histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors might specifically reduce type 2 inflammation in the injured liver, thereby attenuating fibrogenesis in mice. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:Thioacetamide (TAA) was used to induce hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and liver damage in female C57BL/6 mice, similar to the clinical features of chronic human liver disease. We used eight inhibitors of different human HDAC enzymes to probe histological (IHC and TUNEL), biochemical and immunological changes (flow cytometry, qPCR, Legendplex, and ELISA) in pathology, fibrosis, hepatic immune cell flux, and inflammatory cytokine expression. KEY RESULTS:Inhibitors of class I, but not class II, HDAC enzymes potently suppressed chronic hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in mice, attenuating accumulation and activation of IL-33-dependent, but not IL-25-dependent, group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) and inhibiting type 2 inflammation that drives hepatic stellate cells to secrete excessive collagen and matrix proteins. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:The results show that potent and selective inhibitors of class I only HDAC enzymes profoundly inhibit hepatocyte death and type 2 inflammation to prevent TAA-induced liver fibrosis in mice. The specific HDAC enzymes identified here may be key promoters of inflammation in chronic liver fibrosis.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>Oxidative stress plays a critical role in liver fibrogenesis. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) stimulate hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), and ROS-mediated increases in calcium influx further increase ROS production. Azelnidipine is a calcium blocker that has been shown to have antioxidant effects in endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. Therefore, we evaluated the anti-fibrotic and antioxidative effects of azelnidipine on liver fibrosis.<h4>Experimental approach</h4>We used TGF-?1-activated LX-2 cells (a human HSC line) and mouse models of fibrosis induced by treatment with either carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4) ) or thioacetamide (TAA).<h4>Key results</h4>Azelnidipine inhibited TGF-?1 and angiotensin II (Ang II)-activated ?1(I) collagen mRNA expression in HSCs. Furthermore, TGF-?1- and Ang II-induced oxidative stress and TGF-?1-induced p38 and JNK phosphorylation were reduced in HSCs treated with azelnidipine. Azelnidipine significantly decreased inflammatory cell infiltration, pro-fibrotic gene expressions, HSC activation, lipid peroxidation, oxidative DNA damage and fibrosis in the livers of CCl(4) - or TAA-treated mice. Finally, azelnidipine prevented a decrease in the expression of some antioxidant enzymes and accelerated regression of liver fibrosis in CCl(4) -treated mice.<h4>Conclusions and implications</h4>Azelnidipine inhibited TGF-?1- and Ang II-induced HSC activation in vitro and attenuated CCl(4) - and TAA-induced liver fibrosis, and it accelerated regression of CCl(4) -induced liver fibrosis in mice. The anti-fibrotic mechanism of azelnidipine against CCl(4) -induced liver fibrosis in mice may have been due an increased level of antioxidant defence. As azelnidipine is widely used in clinical practice without serious adverse effects, it may provide an effective new strategy for anti-fibrotic therapy.