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A virus-like particle-based connective tissue growth factor vaccine suppresses carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic fibrosis in mice.


ABSTRACT: Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) has been recognized as a central mediator and promising therapeutic target in hepatic fibrosis. In this study, we generated a novel virus-like particle (VLP) CTGF vaccine by inserting the 138-159 amino acid (aa) fragment of CTGF into the central c/e1 epitope of C-terminus truncated hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBc, aa 1-149) using a prokaryotic expression system. Immunization of BALB/c mice with the VLP vaccine efficiently elicited the production of anti-CTGF neutralizing antibodies. Vaccination with this CTGF vaccine significantly protected BALB/c mice from carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic fibrosis, as indicated by decreased hepatic hydroxyproline content and lower fibrotic score. CCl4 intoxication-induced hepatic stellate cell activation was inhibited by the vaccination, as indicated by decreased ?-smooth muscle actin expression and Smad2 phosphorylation. Vaccination against CTGF also attenuated the over-expression of some profibrogenic factors, such as CTGF, transforming growth factor-?1, platelet-derived growth factor-B and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 in the fibrotic mouse livers, decreased hepatocyte apoptosis and accelerated hepatocyte proliferation in the fibrotic mouse livers. Our results clearly indicate that vaccination against CTGF inhibits fibrogenesis, alleviates hepatocyte apoptosis and facilitate hepatic regeneration. We suggest that the vaccine should be developed into an effective therapeutic measure for hepatic fibrosis.

SUBMITTER: Li S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4999884 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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