Engineered fibroblast growth factor 19 reduces liver injury and resolves sclerosing cholangitis in Mdr2-deficient mice.
ABSTRACT: Defects in multidrug resistance 3 gene (MDR3), which encodes the canalicular phospholipid flippase, cause a wide spectrum of cholangiopathy phenotypes in humans. Mice deficient in Mdr2 (murine ortholog of MDR3) develop liver diseases that closely reproduce the biochemical, histological, and clinical features of human cholangiopathies such as progressive familial intrahepatic cholestasis and primary sclerosing cholangitis. We hypothesized that modulating bile acid metabolism by the gut hormone fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) may represent a novel approach for treating cholangiopathy and comorbidities. We introduced adeno-associated virus carrying the gene for either the endocrine hormone FGF19 or engineered FGF19 variant M70 to 12-week old Mdr2-deficient mice with fully established disease. Effects on serum levels of liver enzymes, liver histology, and bile acid homeostasis were evaluated. FGF19 and M70 rapidly and effectively reversed liver injury, decreased hepatic inflammation, attenuated biliary fibrosis, and reduced cholecystolithiasis in Mdr2-deficient mice. Mechanistically, FGF19 and M70 significantly inhibited hepatic expression of Cyp7a1 and Cyp27a1, which encode enzymes responsible for the rate-limiting steps in the classic and alternate bile acid synthetic pathways, thereby reducing the hepatic bile acid pool and blood levels of bile acids. Importantly, prolonged exposure to FGF19, but not M70, led to the formation of hepatocellular carcinomas in the Mdr2-deficient mice. Furthermore, M70 ameliorated the hepatosplenomegaly and ductular proliferation that are associated with cholangiopathy.These results demonstrate the potential for treating cholangiopathy by safely harnessing FGF19 biology to suppress bile acid synthesis.
Project description:Multidrug resistance 2 (Mdr2), also called adenosine triphosphate-binding cassette B4 (ABCB4), is the transporter of phosphatidylcholine (PC) at the canalicular membrane of mouse hepatocytes, which plays an essential role for bile formation. Mutations in human homologue MDR3 are associated with several liver diseases. Knockout of Mdr2 results in hepatic inflammation, liver fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Whereas the pathogenesis in Mdr2 (-/-) mice has been largely attributed to the toxicity of bile acids due to the absence of PC in the bile, the question of whether Mdr2 deficiency per se perturbs biological functions in the cell has been poorly addressed. As Mdr2 is expressed in many cell types, we used mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEF) derived from Mdr2 (-/-) embryos to show that deficiency of Mdr2 increases reactive oxygen species accumulation, lipid peroxidation and DNA damage. We found that Mdr2 (-/-) MEFs undergo spontaneous transformation and that Mdr2 (-/-) mice are more susceptible to chemical carcinogen-induced intestinal tumorigenesis. Microarray analysis in Mdr2-/- MEFs and cap analysis of gene expression in Mdr2 (-/-) HCCs revealed extensively deregulated genes involved in oxidation reduction, fatty acid metabolism and lipid biosynthesis. Our findings imply a close link between Mdr2 (-/-) -associated tumorigenesis and perturbation of these biological processes and suggest potential extrahepatic functions of Mdr2/MDR3.
Project description:Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an increasingly prevalent chronic liver disease for which no approved therapies are available. Despite intensive research, the cellular mechanisms that mediate NAFLD pathogenesis and progression are poorly understood. Although obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and related metabolic syndrome, all consequences of a Western diet lifestyle, are well-recognized risk factors for NAFLD development, dysregulated bile acid metabolism is emerging as a novel mechanism contributing to NAFLD pathogenesis. Notably, NAFLD patients exhibit a deficiency in fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19), an endocrine hormone in the gut-liver axis that controls de novo bile acid synthesis, lipogenesis, and energy homeostasis. Using a mouse model that reproduces the clinical progression of human NAFLD, including the development of simple steatosis, nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), and advanced "burnt-out" NASH with hepatocellular carcinoma, we demonstrate that FGF19 as well as an engineered nontumorigenic FGF19 analogue, M70, ameliorate bile acid toxicity and lipotoxicity to restore liver health. Mass spectrometry-based lipidomics analysis of livers from mice treated with FGF19 or M70 revealed significant reductions in the levels of toxic lipid species (i.e., diacylglycerols, ceramides and free cholesterol) and an increase in levels of unoxidized cardiolipins, an important component of the inner mitochondrial membrane. Furthermore, treatment with FGF19 or M70 rapidly and profoundly reduced levels of liver enzymes, resolved the histologic features of NASH, and enhanced insulin sensitivity, energy homeostasis, and lipid metabolism. Whereas FGF19 induced hepatocellular carcinoma formation following prolonged exposure in these mice, animals expressing M70 showed no evidence of liver tumorigenesis in this model. Conclusion: We have engineered an FGF19 hormone that is capable of regulating multiple pathways to deliver antisteatotic, anti-inflammatory, and antifibrotic activities and that represents a potentially promising therapeutic for patients with NASH. (Hepatology Communications 2017;1:1024-1042).
Project description:Primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC) is a chronic, idiopathic, fibroinflammatory cholangiopathy. The role of the microbiota in PSC etiopathogenesis may be fundamentally important, yet remains obscure. We tested the hypothesis that germ-free (GF) mutltidrug resistance 2 knockout (mdr2(-/-) ) mice develop a distinct PSC phenotype, compared to conventionally housed (CV) mdr2(-/-) mice. Mdr2(-/-) mice (n = 12) were rederived as GF by embryo transfer, maintained in isolators, and sacrificed at 60 days in parallel with age-matched CV mdr2(-/-) mice. Serum biochemistries, gallbladder bile acids, and liver sections were examined. Histological findings were validated morphometrically, biochemically, and by immunofluorescence microscopy (IFM). Cholangiocyte senescence was assessed by p16(INK4a) in situ hybridization in liver tissue and by senescence-associated ?-galactosidase staining in a culture-based model of insult-induced senescence. Serum biochemistries, including alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, and bilirubin, were significantly higher in GF mdr2(-/-) (P < 0.01). Primary bile acids were similar, whereas secondary bile acids were absent, in GF mdr2(-/-) mice. Fibrosis, ductular reaction, and ductopenia were significantly more severe histopathologically in GF mdr2(-/-) mice (P < 0.01) and were confirmed by hepatic morphometry, hydroxyproline assay, and IFM. Cholangiocyte senescence was significantly increased in GF mdr2(-/-) mice and abrogated in vitro by ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) treatment.GF mdr2(-/-) mice exhibit exacerbated biochemical and histological features of PSC and increased cholangiocyte senescence, a characteristic and potential mediator of progressive biliary disease. UDCA, a commensal microbial metabolite, abrogates senescence in vitro. These findings demonstrate the importance of the commensal microbiota and its metabolites in protecting against biliary injury and suggest avenues for future studies of biomarkers and therapeutic interventions in PSC.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>Chronic fibrosing liver injury is a major risk factor for hepatocarcinogenesis in humans. Mice with targeted deletion of Mdr2 (the murine ortholog of MDR3) develop chronic fibrosing liver injury. Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) emerges spontaneously in such mice by 50-60 weeks of age, providing a model of fibrosis-associated hepatocarcinogenesis. We used Mdr2(-/-) mice to investigate the hypothesis that activation of the hedgehog (Hh) signaling pathway promotes development of both liver fibrosis and HCC.<h4>Methods</h4>Hepatic injury and fibrosis, Hh pathway activation, and liver progenitor populations were compared in Mdr2(-/-) mice and age-matched wild type controls. A dose finding experiment with the Hh signaling antagonist GDC-0449 was performed to optimize Hh pathway inhibition. Mice were then treated with GDC-0449 or vehicle for 9 days, and effects on liver fibrosis and tumor burden were assessed by immunohistochemistry, qRT-PCR, Western blot, and magnetic resonance imaging.<h4>Results</h4>Unlike controls, Mdr2(-/-) mice consistently expressed Hh ligands and progressively accumulated Hh-responsive liver myofibroblasts and progenitors with age. Treatment of aged Mdr2-deficient mice with GDC-0449 significantly inhibited hepatic Hh activity, decreased liver myofibroblasts and progenitors, reduced liver fibrosis, promoted regression of intra-hepatic HCCs, and decreased the number of metastatic HCC without increasing mortality.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Hh pathway activation promotes liver fibrosis and hepatocarcinogenesis, and inhibiting Hh signaling safely reverses both processes even when fibrosis and HCC are advanced.
Project description:BackgroundHeterozygous mutations in the gene ABCB4, encoding the phospholipid floppase MDR3 (Mdr2 in mice), are associated with various chronic liver diseases. Here we hypothesize that reduced ABCB4 expression predisposes to extrahepatic biliary atresia (EHBA).MethodsLivers from neonatal wild-type (wt) and heterozygous Mdr2-deficient mice were subjected to mass spectrometry-based lipidomics and RNA sequencing studies. Following postnatal infection with rhesus rotavirus (RRV), liver immune responses and EHBA phenotype were assessed. Hepatic microarray data from 40 infants with EHBA were mined for expression levels of ABCB4.ResultsPhosphatidylcholine (PC) and phosphatidylethanolamine (PE) were increased, whereas the PC/PE ratio was decreased in neonatal Mdr2+/- mice compared with wt mice. Following RRV challenge, hepatic expression of IFN? and infiltration with CD8+ and NK+ lymphocytes were increased in Mdr2+/- mice. Plasma total bilirubin levels and prevalence of complete ductal obstruction were higher in these mice. In infants with EHBA, hepatic gene expression of ABCB4 was downregulated in those with an inflammatory compared with a fibrosing molecular phenotype.ConclusionDecreased expression of ABCB4 causes dysregulation in (phospho)lipid homeostasis, and predisposes to aberrant pro-inflammatory lymphocyte responses and an aggravated phenotype of EHBA in neonatal mice. Downregulated ABCB4 is associated with an inflammatory transcriptome signature in infants with EHBA.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Cholestatic liver injury is mediated by bile acid-induced inflammatory responses. We hypothesized that superior therapeutic effects might be achieved by combining treatments that reduce the bile acid pool size with one that blocks inflammation. METHODS:Bile duct-ligated (BDL) rats and Mdr2(Abcb4)-/- mice were treated with all-trans retinoic acid (atRA), a potent inhibitor of bile acid synthesis, 5 mg/kg/d by gavage, or Cenicriviroc (CVC), a known antagonist of CCR2 and CCR5, 50 mg/kg/d alone or in combination for 14 days and 1 month respectively. RESULTS:All-trans retinoic acid alone reduced bile acid pool size and liver necrosis in BDL rats. However, the combination with CVC further reduced liver to body weight ratio, bile acid pool size, plasma liver enzyme, bilirubin, liver necrosis and fibrosis when compared to the atRA treatment. The assessment of hepatic hydroxyproline content further confirmed the reduced liver injury concurrent with reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines emphasizing the synergistic effects of these two agents. Profiling of hepatic inflammatory cells revealed that combination therapy reduced neutrophils and T cells but not macrophages. The superior therapeutic effects of combination treatment were also confirmed in Mdr2-/- mice where a significant reduction in plasma liver enzymes, bilirubin, liver fibrosis, bile duct proliferation and hepatic infiltration of neutrophils and T cells and expression of cytokines were found. CONCLUSIONS:Multitargeted therapy is an important paradigm for treating cholestatic liver injury. The combination of CVC with atRA or other FXR activators may warrant a clinical trial in patients with cholestatic liver disease.
Project description:Fibroblast growth factor 19 (FGF19) is a hormone-like protein that regulates carbohydrate, lipid and bile acid metabolism. At supra-physiological doses, FGF19 also increases hepatocyte proliferation and induces hepatocellular carcinogenesis in mice. Much of FGF19 activity is attributed to the activation of the liver enriched FGF Receptor 4 (FGFR4), although FGF19 can activate other FGFRs in vitro in the presence of the coreceptor ?Klotho (KLB). In this report, we investigate the role of FGFR4 in mediating FGF19 activity by using Fgfr4 deficient mice as well as a variant of FGF19 protein (FGF19v) which is specifically impaired in activating FGFR4. Our results demonstrate that FGFR4 activation mediates the induction of hepatocyte proliferation and the suppression of bile acid biosynthesis by FGF19, but is not essential for FGF19 to improve glucose and lipid metabolism in high fat diet fed mice as well as in leptin-deficient ob/ob mice. Thus, FGF19 acts through multiple receptor pathways to elicit pleiotropic effects in regulating nutrient metabolism and cell proliferation.
Project description:Endocrine FGF19 and FGF21 exert their effects on metabolic homeostasis through fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and co-factor betaKlotho (KLB). Ileal FGF19 regulates bile acid metabolism through specifically FGFR4-KLB in hepatocytes where FGFR1 is not significant. Both FGF19 and FGF21 activate FGFR1-KLB whose function predominates in adipocytes. Recent studies using administration of FGF19 and FGF21 and genetic ablation of KLB or adipocyte FGFR1 indicate that FGFR1-KLB mediates the response of adipocytes to both FGF21 and FGF19. Here we show that adipose FGFR1 regulates lipid metabolism through direct effect on adipose tissue and indirect effects on liver under starvation conditions that cause hepatic stress.We employed adipocyte-specific ablations of FGFR1 and FGFR2 genes in mice, and analyzed metabolic consequences in adipose tissue, liver and systemic parameters under normal, fasting and starvation conditions.Under normal conditions, the ablation of adipose FGFR1 had little effect on adipocytes, but caused shifts in expression of hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism. Starvation conditions precipitated a concurrent elevation of serum triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids, and increased hepatic steatosis and adipose lipolysis in the FGFR1-deficient mice. Little effect on glucose or ketone bodies due to the FGFR1 deficiency was observed.Our results suggest an adipocyte-hepatocyte communication network mediated by adipocyte FGFR1 that concurrently dampens hepatic lipogenesis and adipocyte lipolysis. We propose that this serves overall to mete out and extend lipid reserves for neural fuels (glucose and ketone bodies), while at the same time governing extent of hepatosteatosis during metabolic extremes and other conditions causing hepatic stress.
Project description:Deficiency of multidrug resistance 2 (mdr2), a canalicular phospholipid floppase, leads to excretion of low-phospholipid "toxic" bile causing progressive cholestasis. We hypothesize that pharmacological inhibition of the ileal, apical sodium-dependent bile acid transporter (ASBT), blocks progression of sclerosing cholangitis in mdr2(-/-) mice. Thirty-day-old, female mdr2(-/-) mice were fed high-fat chow containing 0.006% SC-435, a minimally absorbed, potent inhibitor of ASBT, providing, on average, 11 mg/kg/day of compound. Bile acids (BAs) and phospholipids were measured by mass spectrometry. Compared with untreated mdr2(-/-) mice, SC-435 treatment for 14 days increased fecal BA excretion by 8-fold, lowered total BA concentration in liver by 65%, reduced total BA and individual hydrophobic BA concentrations in serum by >98%, and decreased plasma alanine aminotransferase, total bilirubin, and serum alkaline phosphatase levels by 86%, 93%, and 55%, respectively. Liver histology of sclerosing cholangitis improved, and extent of fibrosis decreased concomitant with reduction of hepatic profibrogenic gene expression. Biliary BA concentrations significantly decreased and phospholipids remained low and unchanged with treatment. The phosphatidylcholine (PC)/BA ratio in treated mice corrected toward a ratio of 0.28 found in wild-type mice, indicating decreased bile toxicity. Hepatic RNA sequencing studies revealed up-regulation of putative anti-inflammatory and antifibrogenic genes, including Ppara and Igf1, and down-regulation of several proinflammatory genes, including Ccl2 and Lcn2, implicated in leukocyte recruitment. Flow cytometric analysis revealed significant reduction of frequencies of hepatic CD11b(+) F4/80(+) Kupffer cells and CD11b(+) Gr1(+) neutrophils, accompanied by expansion of anti-inflammatory Ly6C(-) monocytes in treated mdr2(-/-) mice.Inhibition of ASBT reduces BA pool size and retention of hydrophobic BA, favorably alters the biliary PC/BA ratio, profoundly changes the hepatic transcriptome, attenuates recruitment of leukocytes, and abrogates progression of murine sclerosing cholangitis.
Project description:Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is associated with changes in the intestinal microbiota. Functional consequences of alcohol-associated dysbiosis are largely unknown. The aim of this study was to identify a mechanism of how changes in the intestinal microbiota contribute to ALD. Metagenomic sequencing of intestinal contents demonstrated that chronic ethanol feeding in mice is associated with an over-representation of bacterial genomic DNA encoding choloylglycine hydrolase, which deconjugates bile acids in the intestine. Bile acid analysis confirmed an increased amount of unconjugated bile acids in the small intestine after ethanol administration. Mediated by a lower farnesoid X receptor (FXR) activity in enterocytes, lower fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-15 protein secretion was associated with increased hepatic cytochrome P450 enzyme (Cyp)-7a1 protein expression and circulating bile acid levels. Depletion of the commensal microbiota with nonabsorbable antibiotics attenuated hepatic Cyp7a1 expression and reduced ALD in mice, suggesting that increased bile acid synthesis is dependent on gut bacteria. To restore intestinal FXR activity, we used a pharmacological intervention with the intestine-restricted FXR agonist fexaramine, which protected mice from ethanol-induced liver injury. Whereas bile acid metabolism was only minimally altered, fexaramine treatment stabilized the gut barrier and significantly modulated hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism. To link the beneficial metabolic effect to FGF15, a nontumorigenic FGF19 variant-a human FGF15 ortholog-was overexpressed in mice using adeno-associated viruses. FGF19 treatment showed similarly beneficial metabolic effects and ameliorated alcoholic steatohepatitis. CONCLUSION:Taken together, alcohol-associated metagenomic changes result in alterations of bile acid profiles. Targeted interventions improve bile acid-FXR-FGF15 signaling by modulation of hepatic Cyp7a1 and lipid metabolism, and reduce ethanol-induced liver disease in mice. (Hepatology 2018;67:2150-2166).