Clonal tracing of Sox9+ liver progenitors in mouse oval cell injury.
ABSTRACT: Proliferating ducts, termed "oval cells," have long been thought to be bipotential, that is, produce both biliary ducts and hepatocytes during chronic liver injury. The precursor to oval cells is considered to be a facultative liver stem cell (LSC). Recent lineage tracing experiments indicated that the LSC is SRY-related HMG box transcription factor 9 positive (Sox9(+) ) and can replace the bulk of hepatocyte mass in several settings. However, no clonal relationship between Sox9(+) cells and the two epithelial liver lineages was established. We labeled Sox9(+) mouse liver cells at low density with a multicolor fluorescent confetti reporter. Organoid formation validated the progenitor activity of the labeled population. Sox9(+) cells were traced in multiple oval cell injury models using both histology and fluorescence-activated cell sorting. Surprisingly, only rare clones containing both hepatocytes and oval cells were found in any experiment. Quantitative analysis showed that Sox9(+) cells contributed only minimally (<1%) to the hepatocyte pool, even in classic oval cell injury models. In contrast, clonally marked mature hepatocytes demonstrated the ability to self-renew in all classic mouse oval cell activation injuries. A hepatocyte chimera model to trace hepatocytes and nonparenchymal cells also demonstrated the prevalence of hepatocyte-driven regeneration in mouse oval cell injury models.Sox9(+) ductal progenitor cells give rise to clonal oval cell proliferation and bipotential organoids, but rarely produce hepatocytes in vivo. Hepatocytes themselves are the predominant source of new parenchyma cells in prototypical mouse models of oval cell activation.
Project description:Elucidation of the role of different cell lineages in the liver could offer avenues to drive liver regeneration. Previous studies showed that SOX9+ hepatocytes can differentiate into ductal cells after liver injuries. It is unclear whether SOX9+ hepatocytes are uni- or bipotent progenitors at a single-cell level during liver injury. Here, we developed a genetic tracing system to delineate the lineage potential of SOX9+ hepatocytes during liver homeostasis and regeneration. Fate-mapping data showed that these SOX9+ hepatocytes respond specifically to different liver injuries, with some contributing to a substantial number of ductal cells. Clonal analysis demonstrated that a single SOX9+ hepatocyte gives rise to both hepatocytes and ductal cells after liver injury. This study provides direct evidence that SOX9+ hepatocytes can serve as bipotent progenitors after liver injury, producing both hepatocytes and ductal cells for liver repair and regeneration.
Project description:Progenitor ("oval") cell expansion accompanies many forms of liver injury, including alcohol toxicity and submassive parenchymal necrosis as well as experimental injury models featuring blocked hepatocyte replication. Oval cells can potentially become either hepatocytes or biliary epithelial cells and may be critical to liver regeneration, particularly when hepatocyte replication is impaired. The regulation of oval cell proliferation is incompletely understood. Herein we present evidence that a TNF family member called TWEAK (TNF-like weak inducer of apoptosis) stimulates oval cell proliferation in mouse liver through its receptor Fn14. TWEAK has no effect on mature hepatocytes and thus appears to be selective for oval cells. Transgenic mice overexpressing TWEAK in hepatocytes exhibit periportal oval cell hyperplasia. A similar phenotype was obtained in adult wild-type mice, but not Fn14-null mice, by administering TWEAK-expressing adenovirus. Oval cell expansion induced by 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) was significantly reduced in Fn14-null mice as well as in adult wild-type mice with a blocking anti-TWEAK mAb. Importantly, TWEAK stimulated the proliferation of an oval cell culture model. Finally, we show increased Fn14 expression in chronic hepatitis C and other human liver diseases relative to its expression in normal liver, which suggests a role for the TWEAK/Fn14 pathway in human liver injury. We conclude that TWEAK has a selective mitogenic effect for liver oval cells that distinguishes it from other previously described growth factors.
Project description:Differentiated epithelial cells show substantial lineage plasticity upon severe tissue injuries. In chronically injured mouse livers, part of hepatocytes become Sry-HMG box containing 9 (Sox9) (+) epithelial cell adhesion molecule (-) hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 ? (+) biphenotypic hepatocytes. However, it is not clear whether all Sox9+ hepatocytes uniformly possess cellular properties as hepatocyte progenitors. Here, we examined the microarray data comparing Sox9+ hepatocytes with mature hepatocytes and identified CD24 as a novel marker for biphenotypic hepatocytes. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that part of Sox9+ hepatocytes near expanded ductular structures expressed CD24 in the liver injured by 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydro-collidine (DDC) diet and by bile duct ligation. Indeed, Sox9+ hepatocytes could be separated into CD24- and CD24+ cells by fluorescence activated cell sorting. The ratio of CD24+ cells against CD24- ones in Sox9+ hepatocytes gradually increased while DDC-injury progressed and colony-forming capability mostly attributed to CD24+ cells. Although hepatocyte markers were remarkably downregulated in of Sox9+ CD24+ hepatocytes, they re-differentiated into mature hepatocytes in vitro and in vivo. Our current results demonstrate that the emergence of biphenotypic hepatocytes is a sequential event including the transition from CD24- and CD24+ status, which may be a crucial step for hepatocytes to acquire progenitor properties.
Project description:Hepatocytes provide most liver functions, but they can also proliferate and regenerate the liver after injury. However, under some liver injury conditions, particularly chronic liver injury where hepatocyte proliferation is impaired, liver stem cells (LSCs) are thought to replenish lost hepatocytes. Conflicting results have been reported about the identity of LSCs and their contribution to liver regeneration. To address this uncertainty, we followed candidate LSC populations by genetic fate tracing in adult mice with chronic liver injury due to a choline-deficient, ethionine-supplemented diet. In contrast to previous studies, we failed to detect hepatocytes derived from biliary epithelial cells or mesenchymal liver cells beyond a negligible frequency. In fact, we failed to detect hepatocytes that were not derived from pre-existing hepatocytes. In conclusion, our findings argue against LSCs, or other nonhepatocyte cell types, providing a backup system for hepatocyte regeneration in this common mouse model of chronic liver injury.
Project description:The ability to purify to homogeneity a population of hepatic progenitor cells from adult liver is critical for their characterization prior to any therapeutic application. As a step in this direction, we have used a bipotential liver cell line from 14 days postcoitum mouse embryonic liver to compile a list of cell surface markers expressed specifically by liver progenitor cells. These cells, known as bipotential mouse embryonic liver (BMEL) cells, proliferate in an undifferentiated state and are capable of differentiating into hepatocyte-like and cholangiocyte-like cells in vitro. Upon transplantation, BMEL cells are capable of differentiating into hepatocytes and cholangiocytes in vivo. Microarray and Gene Ontology (GO) analysis of gene expression in the 9A1 and 14B3 BMEL cell lines grown under proliferating and differentiating conditions was used to identify cell surface markers preferentially expressed in the bipotential undifferentiated state. This analysis revealed that proliferating BMEL cells express many genes involved in cell cycle regulation, whereas differentiation of BMEL cells by cell aggregation causes a switch in gene expression to functions characteristic of mature hepatocytes. In addition, microarray data and protein analysis indicated that the Notch signaling pathway could be involved in maintaining BMEL cells in an undifferentiated stem cell state. Using GO annotation, a list of cell surface markers preferentially expressed on undifferentiated BMEL cells was generated. One marker, Cd24a, is specifically expressed on progenitor oval cells in livers of diethyl 1,4-dihydro-2,4,6-trimethyl-3,5-pyridinedicarboxylate-treated animals. We therefore consider Cd24a expression a candidate molecule for purification of hepatic progenitor cells. Disclosure of potential conflicts of interest is found at the end of this article.
Project description:The identification of specific cell surface markers that can be used to isolate liver progenitor cells will greatly facilitate experimentation to determine the role of these cells in liver regeneration and their potential for therapeutic transplantation. Previously, the cell surface marker, CD24, was observed to be expressed on undifferentiated bipotential mouse embryonic liver stem cells and 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine-induced oval cells. Here, we describe the isolation and characterization of a rare, primary, nonhematopoietic, CD24+ progenitor cell population from normal, untreated mouse liver. By immunohistochemistry, CD24-expressing cells in normal adult mouse liver were colocalized with CK19-positive cholangiocytes. This nonhematopoietic (CD45-, Ter119-) CD24+ cell population isolated by flow cytometry represented 0.04% of liver cells and expressed several markers of liver progenitor/oval cells. The immunophenotype of nonhematopoietic CD24+ cells was CD133, Dlk, and Sca-1 high, but c-Kit, Thy-1, and CD34 low. The CD24+ cells had increased expression of CK19, epithelial cell adhesion molecule, Sox 9, and FN14 compared with the unsorted cells. Upon transplantation of nonhematopoietic CD24+ cells under the sub-capsule of the livers of Fah knockout mice, cells differentiated into mature functional hepatocytes. Analysis of X and Y chromosome complements were used to determine whether or not fusion of the engrafted cells with the recipient hepatocytes occurred. No cells were found that contained XXXY or any other combination of donor and host sex chromosomes as would be expected if cell fusion had occurred. These results suggested that CD24 can be used as a cell surface marker for isolation of hepatocyte progenitor cells from normal adult liver that are able to differentiate into hepatocytes.
Project description:The liver is endowed with the ability to regenerate hepatocytes in response to injury. When this regeneration ability is impaired during liver injury, oval cells, which are considered to be postnatal hepatic progenitors, proliferate and differentiate into hepatocytes. Here we have demonstrated that 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) activates the nuclear receptor constitutive active/androstane receptor (CAR), resulting in proliferation of oval cells in mouse liver. Activation of CAR by DDC was shown by hepatic nuclear CAR accumulation and cytochrome P450 (CYP)2B10 mRNA induction after feeding a 0.1% DDC-containing diet to Car(+/+) mice. After being fed the DDC diet, Car(+/+), but not Car(-/-) mice, developed severe liver injury and an A6 antibody-stained ductular reaction in an area around the portal tract. Oval cell proliferation was confirmed by laser capture microdissection and real-time PCR; mRNAs for the two oval cell markers epithelial cell adhesion molecule and TROP2 were specifically induced in the periportal region of DDC diet-fed Car(+/+), but not Car(-/-) mice. Although rates of both hepatocyte growth and death were initially enhanced only in DDC diet-fed Car(+/+) mice, growth was attenuated when oval cells proliferated, whereas death continued unabated. DDC-induced liver injury, which differs from other CAR activators such as phenobarbital, occurred in the periportal region where cells developed hypertrophy, accumulated porphyrin crystals and inflammation developed, all in association with the proliferation of oval cells. Thus, CAR provides an excellent experimental model for further investigations into its roles in liver regeneration, as well as the development of diseases such as hepatocellular carcinoma.
Project description:Whether hepatocytes can convert into biliary epithelial cells (BECs) during biliary injury is much debated. To test this concept, we traced the fate of genetically labeled [dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPPIV)-positive] hepatocytes in hepatocyte transplantation model following acute hepato-biliary injury induced by 4,4'-methylene-dianiline (DAPM) and D-galactosamine (DAPM+D-gal) and in DPPIV-chimeric liver model subjected to acute (DAPM+D-gal) or chronic biliary injury caused by DAPM and bile duct ligation (DAPM+BDL). In both models before biliary injury, BECs are uniformly DPPIV-deficient and proliferation of DPPIV-deficient hepatocytes is restricted by retrorsine. We found that mature hepatocytes underwent a stepwise conversion into BECs after biliary injury. In the hepatocyte transplantation model, DPPIV-positive hepatocytes entrapped periportally proliferated, and formed two-layered plates along portal veins. Within the two-layered plates, the hepatocytes gradually lost their hepatocytic identity, proceeded through an intermediate state, acquired a biliary phenotype, and subsequently formed bile ducts along the hilum-to-periphery axis. In DPPIV-chimeric liver model, periportal hepatocytes expressing hepatocyte nuclear factor-1? (HNF-1?) were exclusively DPPIV-positive and were in continuity to DPPIV-positives bile ducts. Inhibition of hepatocyte proliferation by additional doses of retrorsine in DPPIV-chimeric livers prevented the appearance of DPPIV-positive BECs after biliary injury. Moreover, enriched DPPIV-positive BEC/hepatic oval cell transplantation produced DPPIV-positive BECs or bile ducts in unexpectedly low frequency and in mid-lobular regions. These results together suggest that mature hepatocytes but not contaminating BECs/hepatic oval cells are the sources of periportal DPPIV-positive BECs. We conclude that mature hepatocytes contribute to biliary regeneration in the environment of acute and chronic biliary injury through a ductal plate configuration without the need of exogenously genetic or epigenetic manipulation.
Project description:AIM:To clarify the pathogenesis of ductular proliferation and its possible association with oval cell activation and hepatocyte regeneration. METHODS:Immunohistochemical staining and image analysis of the ductular structures in the liver tissues from 11 patients with severe chronic hepatitis B and 2 healthy individuals were performed. The liver specimens were sectioned serially, and then cytokeratin 8(CK8),CK19,OV6,proliferating cell nuclear antigens(PCNA), glutathione-S-transferase (GST), alpha-fetal protein (AFP) and albumin were stained immunohistochemically. RESULTS:Typical and atypical types of ductular proliferation were observed in the portal tracts of the liver tissues in all 11 patients. The proliferating ductular cells were positive for CK8, CK19, OV6 and PCNA staining. Some atypical ductular cells displayed the morphological and immunohistochemical characteristics of hepatic oval cells. Some small hepatocyte-like cells were between hepatic oval cells and mature hepatocytes morphometrically and immunohistochemically. CONCLUSION:The proliferating ductules in the liver of patients with severe chronic liver disease may have different origins. Some atypical ductular cells are actually activated hepatic oval cells. Atypical ductular proliferation is related to hepatocyte regeneration and small hepatocyte-like cells may be intermediate transient cells between hepatic oval cells and mature hepatocytes.
Project description:Prolonged exposure of mice to diet containing 0.1% 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC) results in hepatobiliary injury, atypical ductular proliferation, oval cell appearance, and limited fibrosis. Previously, we reported that short-term ingestion of DDC diet by hepatocyte-specific ?-catenin conditional knockout (KO) mice led to fewer A6-positive oval cells than wildtype (WT) littermates. To examine the role of ?-catenin in chronic hepatic injury and repair, we exposed WT and KO mice to DDC for 80 and 150 days. Paradoxically, long-term DDC exposure led to significantly more A6-positive cells, indicating greater atypical ductular proliferation in KO, which coincided with increased fibrosis and cholestasis. Surprisingly, at 80 and 150 days in KO we observed a significant amelioration of hepatocyte injury. This coincided with extensive repopulation of ?-catenin null livers with ?-catenin-positive hepatocytes at 150 days, which was preceded by appearance of ?-catenin-positive hepatocyte clusters at 80 days and a few ?-catenin-positive hepatocytes at earlier times. Intriguingly, occasional ?-catenin-positive hepatocytes that were negative for progenitor markers were also observed at baseline in the KO livers, suggesting spontaneous escape from cre-mediated recombination. These cells with hepatocyte morphology expressed mature hepatocyte markers but lacked markers of hepatic progenitors. The gradual repopulation of KO livers with ?-catenin-positive hepatocytes occurred only following DDC injury and coincided with a progressive loss of hepatic cre-recombinase expression. A few ?-catenin-positive cholangiocytes were observed albeit only after long-term DDC exposure and trailed the appearance of ?-catenin-positive hepatocytes.In a chronic liver injury model, ?-catenin-positive hepatocytes exhibit growth and survival advantages and repopulate KO livers, eventually limiting hepatic injury and dysfunction despite increased fibrosis and intrahepatic cholestasis.