Hepatic stellate cell-targeted delivery of hepatocyte growth factor transgene via bile duct infusion enhances its expression at fibrotic foci to regress dimethylnitrosamine-induced liver fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Liver fibrosis generates fibrotic foci with abundant activated hepatic stellate cells and excessive collagen deposition juxtaposed with healthy regions. Targeted delivery of antifibrotic therapeutics to hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) might improve treatment outcomes and reduce adverse effects on healthy tissue. We delivered the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) gene specifically to activated hepatic stellate cells in fibrotic liver using vitamin A-coupled liposomes by retrograde intrabiliary infusion to bypass capillarized hepatic sinusoids. The antifibrotic effects of DsRed2-HGF vector encapsulated within vitamin A-coupled liposomes were validated by decreases in fibrotic markers in vitro. Fibrotic cultures transfected with the targeted transgene showed a significant decrease in fibrotic markers such as transforming growth factor-?1. In rats, dimethylnitrosamine-induced liver fibrosis is manifested by an increase in collagen deposition and severe defenestration of sinusoidal endothelial cells. The HSC-targeted transgene, administered via retrograde intrabiliary infusion in fibrotic rats, successfully reduced liver fibrosis markers alpha-smooth muscle actin and collagen, accompanied by an increase in the expression of DsRed2-HGF near the fibrotic foci. Thus, targeted delivery of HGF gene to hepatic stellate cells increased the transgene expression at the fibrotic foci and strongly enhanced its antifibrotic effects.
Project description:Endothelial dysfunction and reduced nitric oxide (NO) signaling are a key element of the pathophysiology of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Stimulators of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) enhance NO signaling; have been shown preclinically to reduce inflammation, fibrosis, and steatosis; and thus have been proposed as potential therapies for NASH and fibrotic liver diseases. Praliciguat, an oral sGC stimulator with extensive distribution to the liver, was used to explore the role of this signaling pathway in NASH. We found that sGC is expressed in hepatic stellate cells and stellate-derived myofibroblasts, but not in hepatocytes. Praliciguat acted directly on isolated hepatic stellate cells to inhibit fibrotic and inflammatory signaling potentially through regulation of AMPK and SMAD7. Using in vivo microdialysis, we demonstrated stimulation of the NO-sGC pathway by praliciguat in both healthy and fibrotic livers. In preclinical models of NASH, praliciguat treatment was associated with lower levels of liver fibrosis and lower expression of fibrotic and inflammatory biomarkers. Praliciguat treatment lowered hepatic steatosis and plasma cholesterol levels. The antiinflammatory and antifibrotic effects of praliciguat were recapitulated in human microtissues in vitro. These data provide a plausible cellular basis for the mechanism of action of sGC stimulators and suggest the potential therapeutic utility of praliciguat in the treatment of NASH.
Project description:Progressive liver fibrosis, induced by chronic viral and metabolic disorders, leads to more than one million deaths annually via development of cirrhosis, although no antifibrotic therapy has been approved to date. Transdifferentiation (or "activation") of hepatic stellate cells is the major cellular source of matrix protein-secreting myofibroblasts, the major driver of liver fibrogenesis. Paracrine signals from injured epithelial cells, fibrotic tissue microenvironment, immune and systemic metabolic dysregulation, enteric dysbiosis, and hepatitis viral products can directly or indirectly induce stellate cell activation. Dysregulated intracellular signaling, epigenetic changes, and cellular stress response represent candidate targets to deactivate stellate cells by inducing reversion to inactivated state, cellular senescence, apoptosis, and/or clearance by immune cells. Cell type- and target-specific pharmacological intervention to therapeutically induce the deactivation will enable more effective and less toxic precision antifibrotic therapies.
Project description:Hepatic fibrosis can result as a pathological response to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Cirrhosis, the late stage of fibrosis, has been linked to poor survival and an increased risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma, with limited treatment options available. Therefore, there is an unmet need for novel effective antifibrotic compounds. Cyclophilins are peptidyl-prolyl cis-trans isomerases that facilitate protein folding and conformational changes affecting the function of the targeted proteins. Due to their activity, cyclophilins have been presented as key factors in several stages of the fibrotic process. In this study, we investigated the antifibrotic effects of NV556, a novel potent sanglifehrin-based cyclophilin inhibitor, in vitro and in vivo. NV556 potential antifibrotic effect was evaluated in two well-established animal models of NASH, STAM, and methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) mice, as well as in an in vitro 3D human liver ECM culture of LX2 cells, a human hepatic stellate cell line. We demonstrate that NV556 decreased liver fibrosis in both STAM and MCD in vivo models and decreased collagen production in TGF?1-activated hepatic stellate cells in vitro. Taken together, these results present NV556 as a potential candidate for the treatment of liver fibrosis.
Project description:: Chronic liver injury from various causes often results in liver fibrosis (LF). Although the liver possesses endogenous tissue-repairing activities, these can be overcome by sustained inflammation and excessive fibrotic scar formation. Advanced LF leads to irreversible cirrhosis and subsequent liver failure and/or hepatic cancer. Here, using the mouse carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced LF model, we showed that a single intravenous administration of stem cells derived from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHEDs) or of SHED-derived serum-free conditioned medium (SHED-CM) resulted in fibrotic scar resolution. SHED-CM suppressed the gene expression of proinflammatory mediators, such as TNF-?, IL-1?, and iNOS, and eliminated activated hepatic stellate cells by inducing their apoptosis, but protected parenchymal hepatocytes from undergoing apoptosis. In addition, SHED-CM induced tissue-repairing macrophages that expressed high levels of the profibrinolytic factor, matrix metalloproteinase 13. Furthermore, SHED-CM suppressed the CCl4-induced apoptosis of primary cultured hepatocytes. SHED-CM contained a high level of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Notably, HGF-depleted SHED-CM (dHGF-CM) did not suppress the proinflammatory response or resolve fibrotic scarring. Furthermore, SHED-CM, but not dHGF-CM, inhibited CCl4-induced hepatocyte apoptosis. These results suggest that HGF plays a central role in the SHED-CM-mediated resolution of LF. Taken together, our findings suggest that SHED-CM provides multifaceted therapeutic benefits for the treatment of LF.This study demonstrated that a single intravenous administration of stem cells from human exfoliated deciduous teeth (SHEDs) or of the serum-free conditioned medium (CM) derived from SHEDs markedly improved mouse liver fibrosis (LF). SHED-CM suppressed chronic inflammation, eliminated activated hepatic stellate cells by inducing their apoptosis, protected hepatocytes from undergoing apoptosis, and induced differentiation of tissue-repairing macrophages expressing high levels of the profibrinolytic factor matrix metalloproteinase 13. Furthermore, hepatocyte growth factor played a central role in the SHED-CM-mediated resolution of LF. This is the first report demonstrating the multifaceted therapeutic benefits of secreted factors derived from SHEDs for LF.
Project description:Insulin like growth factor II receptor (IGFIIR) is a transmembrane protein overexpressed in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), which are the major target for the treatment of liver fibrosis. In this study, we aim to discover an IGFIIR-specific aptamer that can be potentially used as a targeting ligand for the treatment and diagnosis of liver fibrosis. Systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment (SELEX) was conducted on recombinant human IGFIIR to identify IGFIIR-specific aptamers. The binding affinity and specificity of the discovered aptamers to IGFIIR and hepatic stellate cells were studied using flow cytometry and Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR). Aptamer-20 showed the highest affinity to recombinant human IGFIIR protein with a Kd of 35.5 nM, as determined by SPR. Aptamer-20 also has a high affinity (apparent Kd 45.12 nM) to LX-2 human hepatic stellate cells. Binding of aptamer-20 to hepatic stellate cells could be inhibited by knockdown of IGFIIR using siRNA, indicating a high specificity of the aptamer. The aptamer formed a chimera with an anti-fibrotic PCBP2 siRNA and delivered the siRNA to HSC-T6 cells to trigger silencing activity. In Vivo biodistribution study of the siRNA-aptamer chimera also demonstrated a high and specific uptake in the liver of the rats with CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. These data suggest that aptamer-20 is a high-affinity ligand for antifibrotic and diagnostic agents for liver fibrosis.
Project description:This study aimed to investigate the role of src-homology protein tyrosine phosphatase-1 (SHP-1)-signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) pathway in liver fibrogenesis and the anti-fibrotic effect of SHP-1 agonist. The antifibrotic activity of SC-43, a sorafenib derivative with an enhanced SHP-1 activity, was evaluated in two fibrosis mouse models by carbon tetrachloride induction and bile duct ligation. Rat, human, and primary mouse hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) were used for mechanistic investigations. The results showed that SHP-1 protein primarily localized in fibrotic areas of human and mouse livers. SC-43 treatment reduced the activated HSCs and thus effectively prevented and regressed liver fibrosis in both fibrosis mouse models and improved mouse survival. In vitro studies revealed that SC-43 promoted HSC apoptosis, increased the SHP-1 activity and inhibited phospho-STAT3. The enhanced SHP-1 activity in HSCs significantly inhibited HSC proliferation, whereas SHP-1 inhibition rescued SC-43-induced HSC apoptosis. Furthermore, SC-43 interacted with the N-SH2 domain of SHP-1 to enhance the activity of SHP-1 as its antifibrotic mechanism. In conclusion, the SHP-1-STAT3 pathway is crucial in fibrogenesis. SC-43 significantly ameliorates liver fibrosis through SHP-1 upregulation. A SHP-1-targeted antifibrotic therapy may represent a druggable strategy for antifibrotic drug discovery.
Project description:Chronic liver injury can be induced by viruses, toxins, cellular activation, and metabolic dysregulation and can lead to liver fibrosis. Hepatic fibrosis still remains a major burden on the global health systems. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are considered the main cause of liver fibrosis. Hepatic stellate cells are key targets in antifibrotic treatment, but selective engagement of these cells is an unresolved issue. Current strategies for antifibrotic drugs, which are at the critical stage 3 clinical trials, target metabolic regulation, immune cell activation, and cell death. Here, we report on the critical factors for liver fibrosis, and on prospective novel drugs, which might soon enter the market. Apart from the current clinical trials, novel perspectives for anti-fibrotic treatment may arise from magnetic particles and controlled magnetic forces in various different fields. Magnetic-assisted techniques can, for instance, enable cell engineering and cell therapy to fight cancer, might enable to control the shape or orientation of single cells or tissues mechanically. Furthermore, magnetic forces may improve localized drug delivery mediated by magnetism-induced conformational changes, and they may also enhance non-invasive imaging applications.
Project description:Liver fibrosis is a pathophysiologic process involving the accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins as collagen deposition. Advanced liver fibrosis can evolve in cirrhosis, portal hypertension and often requires liver transplantation. At the cellular level, hepatic fibrosis involves the activation of hepatic stellate cells and their transdifferentiation into myofibroblasts. Numerous pro-fibrogenic mediators including the transforming growth factor-?1, the platelet-derived growth factor, endothelin-1, toll-like receptor 4, and reactive oxygen species are key players in this process. Knowledge of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying hepatic fibrosis development need to be extended to find novel therapeutic strategies. Antifibrotic therapies aim to inhibit the accumulation of fibrogenic cells and/or prevent the deposition of extracellular matrix proteins. Natural products from terrestrial and marine sources, including sulfur-containing compounds, exhibit promising activities for the treatment of fibrotic pathology. Although many therapeutic interventions are effective in experimental models of liver fibrosis, their efficacy and safety in humans are largely unknown. This review aims to provide a reference collection on experimentally tested natural anti-fibrotic compounds, with particular attention on sulfur-containing molecules. Their chemical structure, sources, mode of action, molecular targets, and pharmacological activity in the treatment of liver disease will be discussed.
Project description:The growing burden of liver fibrosis and lack of effective antifibrotic therapies highlight the need for identification of pathways and complementary model systems of hepatic fibrosis. A rare, monogenic disorder in which children with mutations in mannose phosphate isomerase (MPI) develop liver fibrosis led us to explore the function of MPI and mannose metabolism in liver development and adult liver diseases. Herein, analyses of transcriptomic data from three human liver cohorts demonstrate that MPI gene expression is down-regulated proportionate to fibrosis in chronic liver diseases, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and hepatitis B virus. Depletion of MPI in zebrafish liver in vivo and in human hepatic stellate cell (HSC) lines in culture activates fibrotic responses, indicating that loss of MPI promotes HSC activation. We further demonstrate that mannose supplementation can attenuate HSC activation, leading to reduced fibrogenic activation in zebrafish, culture-activated HSCs, and in ethanol-activated HSCs. Conclusion: These data indicate the prospect that modulation of mannose metabolism pathways could reduce HSC activation and improve hepatic fibrosis.
Project description:Tissue fibrosis underlies the majority of human mortality to date with close to half of all reported deaths having a fibrotic etiology. The progression of fibrosis is very complex and reputed irreversible once established. Although some preventive options are being reported, therapeutic options are still scarce and in very high demand, given the rise of diseases linked to fibroproliferative disorders. Our work explored four platforms, complementarily, in order to screen preventive and therapeutic potentials of the antiparasitic drug Praziquantel as a possible antifibrotic. We applied the mouse CCl<sub>4</sub>-driven liver fibrosis model, the mouse chronic schistosomiasis liver fibrosis model, as well as novel 2D and 3D human cell-based co-culture of human hepatocytes, KCs (Kupffer cells), LECs (Liver Endothelial Cells), HSCs (Hepatic Stellate Cells) and/or myofibroblasts to mimic in vivo fibrotic responses and dynamics. Praziquantel showed some effect on fibrosis marker when preventively administered before severe establishment of fibrosis. However, it failed to potently reverse already established fibrosis. Together, we provided a novel sophisticated multi-assay screening platform to test preventive and therapeutic antifibrotic candidates. We further demonstrated a direct preventive potential of Praziquantel against the onset of fibrosis and the confirmation of its lack of therapeutic potential in reversing already established fibrosis.