Lyn kinase enhanced hepatic fibrosis by modulating the activation of hepatic stellate cells.
ABSTRACT: The non-selectivity of tyrosine kinase inhibitors is the leading cause of drug withdrawals, and limits their application in anti-fibrosis. The role of Src tyrosine kinase Lyn in hepatic fibrosis remains elusive. In this study, we aimed to elucidate the role of Lyn kinase in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. Through examining Lyn-transgenic (Lyn TG) mice treated with CCl4 (carbon tetrachloride), we determined whether Lyn kinase is involved in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis. On top of that, we also investigated the role of Lyn in the activation of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in vitro. Here, we showed that Lyn kinase was highly expressed in liver fibrosis upon CCl4 treatment. Meanwhile, Lyn TG mice showed that perivascular infiltration of mononuclear cells, and the markers of liver injury and hepatocytes apoptosis were significantly increased in liver tissue after CCl4 treatment. In comparison with wild-type (WT) mice after CCl4 treatment, we found that the ?brotic score in liver tissues of Lyn TG mice with the same treatment went up dramatically, so did the gene expression of fibrotic markers. In addition, over-expression of Lyn kinase drastically promoted the expression of HSCs activation markers in vivo or in vitro. Additionally, the Src-specific inhibitor PP2 significantly suppressed the increased expression of integrin ?v?3 in TGF-?1-induced HSCs, and PP2 further induced HSC apoptosis in TGF-?1-treated cells. These results collectively indicated that Lyn kinase is implicated in the pathogenesis of hepatic fibrosis through the modulating of HSC activation.
Project description:Recent studies suggest that Src family kinase (SFK) plays important roles in systemic sclerosis and pulmonary fibrosis. However, how SFKs contributed to the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis remains largely unknown. Here, we investigated the role of Fyn, a member of SFK, in hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and liver fibrosis, and evaluated the anti-fibrotic effects of Saracatinib, a clinically proven safe Fyn inhibitor. Fyn activation was examined in human normal and fibrotic liver tissues. The roles of Fyn in HSC activation and liver fibrosis were evaluated in HSC cell lines by using Fyn siRNA and in Fyn knockout mice. The effects of Saracatinib on HSC activation and liver fibrosis were determined in primary HSCs and CCl4 induced liver fibrosis model. We showed that the Fyn was activated in the liver of human fibrosis patients. TGF-? induced the activation of Fyn in HSC cell lines. Knockdown of Fyn significantly blocked HSC activation, proliferation, and migration. Fyn deficient mice were resistant to CCl4 induced liver fibrosis. Saracatinib treatment abolished the activation of Fyn, downregulated the Fyn/FAK/N-WASP signaling in HSCs, and subsequently prevented the activation of HSCs. Saracatinib treatment significantly reduced the severity liver fibrosis induced by CCl4 in mice. In conclusions, our findings supported the critical role of Fyn in HSC activation and development of liver fibrosis. Fyn could serve as a promising drug target for liver fibrosis treatment. Fyn inhibitor Saracatinib significantly inhibited HSC activation and attenuated liver fibrosis in mouse model.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) that express glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP) are located between the sinusoidal endothelial cells and hepatocytes. HSCs are activated during liver injury and cause hepatic fibrosis by producing excessive extracellular matrix. HSCs also produce many growth factors, chemokines and cytokines, and thus may play an important role in acute liver injury. However, this function has not been clarified due to unavailability of a model, in which HSCs are depleted from the normal liver. METHODS:We treated mice expressing HSV-thymidine kinase under the GFAP promoter (GFAP-Tg) with 3 consecutive (3 days apart) CCl4 (0.16 ?l/g; ip) injections to stimulate HSCs to enter the cell cycle and proliferate. This was followed by 10-day ganciclovir (40 ?g/g/day; ip) treatment, which is expected to eliminate actively proliferating HSCs. Mice were then subjected to hepatic ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) or endotoxin treatment. RESULTS:CCl4/ganciclovir treatment caused depletion of the majority of HSCs (about 64-72%), while the liver recovered from the initial CCl4-induced injury (confirmed by histology, serum ALT and neutrophil infiltration). The magnitude of hepatic injury due to I/R or endotoxemia (determined by histopathology and serum ALT) was lower in HSC-depleted mice. Their hepatic expression of TNF-?, neutrophil chemoattractant CXCL1 and endothelin-A receptor also was significantly lower than the control mice. CONCLUSIONS:HSCs play an important role both in I/R- and endotoxin-induced acute hepatocyte injury, with TNF-? and endothelin-1 as important mediators of these effects.
Project description:Reversal of activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) to a quiescent state and apoptosis of activated HSCs are key elements in the reversion of hepatic fibrosis. CCAAT/enhancer binding protein ? (C/EBP-?) has been shown to inhibit HSC activation and promote its apoptosis. This study aims to investigate how C/EBP-? acetylation affects the fate of activated HSCs. Effects of a histone deacetylation inhibitor trichostatin A (TSA) on HSC activation were evaluated in a mouse model of liver fibrosis caused by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) intoxication. TSA was found to ameliorate CCl4-induced hepatic fibrosis and improve liver function through increasing the protein level and enhancing C/EBP-? acetylation in the mouse liver. C/EBP-? acetylation was determined in HSC lines in the presence or absence of TSA, and the lysine residue K276 was identified as a main acetylation site in C/EBP-? protein. C/EBP-? acetylation increased its stability and protein level, and inhibited HSC activation. The present study demonstrated that C/EBP-? acetylation increases the protein level by inhibiting its ubiquitination-mediated degradation, and may be involved in the fate of activated HSCs. Use of TSA may confer an option in minimizing hepatic fibrosis by suppressing HSC activation, a key process in the initiation and progression of hepatic fibrosis.
Project description:High-mobility group box-1 (HMGB1) is a damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP) increased in response to liver injury. Because HMGB1 is a ligand for the receptor for advanced glycation endproducts (RAGE), we hypothesized that induction of HMGB1 could participate in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis though RAGE cell-specific signaling mechanisms. Liver HMGB1 protein expression correlated with fibrosis stage in patients with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC), or alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH). Hepatic HMGB1 protein expression and secretion increased in five mouse models of liver fibrosis attributed to drug-induced liver injury (DILI), cholestasis, ASH, or nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). HMGB1 was up-regulated and secreted mostly by hepatocytes and Kupffer cells (KCs) following CCl4 treatment. Neutralization of HMGB1 protected, whereas injection of recombinant HMGB1 promoted liver fibrosis. Hmgb1 ablation in hepatocytes (Hmgb1?Hep ) or in myeloid cells (Hmgb1?Mye ) partially protected, whereas ablation in both (Hmgb1?Hep?Mye ) prevented liver fibrosis in vivo. Coculture with hepatocytes or KCs from CCl4 -injected wild-type (WT) mice up-regulated Collagen type I production by hepatic stellate cells (HSCs); yet, coculture with hepatocytes from CCl4 -injected Hmgb1?Hep or with KCs from CCl4 -injected Hmgb1?Mye mice partially blunted this effect. Rage ablation in HSCs (Rage?HSC ) and RAGE neutralization prevented liver fibrosis. Last, we identified that HMGB1 stimulated HSC migration and signaled through RAGE to up-regulate Collagen type I expression by activating the phosphorylated mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (pMEK)1/2, phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK)1/2 and pcJun signaling pathway. Conclusion: Hepatocyte and KC-derived HMGB1 participates in the pathogenesis of liver fibrosis by signaling through RAGE in HSCs to activate the pMEK1/2, pERK1/2 and pcJun pathway and increase Collagen type I deposition.
Project description:Liver fibrosis, a common outcome of chronic liver disease characterized by excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix (ECM), is a leading cause of mortality worldwide. The tyrosine kinase inhibitor neratinib is a human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) inhibitor approved by the FDA for HER2-positive breast cancer treatment; however, it has not yet been evaluated for liver fibrosis treatment. We elucidated the anti-fibrotic effects of neratinib in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and in vivo models of CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. HSC activation is a key step in liver fibrogenesis and has a crucial role in collagen deposition, as it is primarily responsible for excessive ECM production. The effect of neratinib on HSC was evaluated in transforming growth factor (TGF-?)-incubated LX-2 cells and culture-activated primary human HSCs. In vivo study results indicated that neratinib inhibited the inflammatory response, HSC differentiation, and collagen accumulation induced by CCl4. Moreover, the anti-fibrotic effects of neratinib were not associated with the HER2 signaling pathways. Neratinib inhibited FGF2 expression in activated HSCs and serum FGF2 level in the model, suggesting that neratinib possessed therapeutic potency against liver fibrosis and the potential for application against other fibrotic diseases.
Project description:Hepatic myofibroblasts, activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), are the main cell type of extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition during hepatic fibrosis. Aberrant DNA methylation-regulated HSCs activation in liver fibrogenesis has been reported, but the functional roles and mechanisms of DNA methylation in hepatic fibrosis remain to be elucidated. In the present study, reduced representation bisulfite sequencing (RRBS) analysis of primary HSCs revealed hypermethylation patterns in hepatic fibrosis. Interestingly, we found SAD1/UNC84 domain protein-2 (SUN2) gene hypermethylation at CpG sites during liver fibrogenesis in mice with CCl4-induced hepatic fibrosis, which was accompanied by low expression of SUN2. In vivo overexpression of SUN2 following adeno-associated virus-9 (AAV9) administration inhibited CCl4-induced liver injury and reduced fibrogenesis marker expression. Consistently, in vitro experiments showed that enforced expression of SUN2 suppressed HSCs activation and exerted anti-fibrogenesis effects in TGF-?1-activated HSC-T6 cells. In addition, the signaling mechanisms related to SUN2 expression were investigated in vivo and in vitro. Methyltransferase-3b (DNMT3b) is the principal regulator of SUN2 expression. Mechanistically, inhibition of protein kinase B (AKT) phosphorylation may be a crucial pathway for SUN2-mediated HSCs activation. In conclusion, these findings provide substantial new insights into SUN2 in hepatic fibrosis.
Project description:Liver fibrosis, an important health concern associated to chronic liver injury that provides a permissive environment for cancer development, is characterized by accumulation of extracellular matrix components mainly derived from activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Axl, a receptor tyrosine kinase and its ligand Gas6, are involved in cell differentiation, immune response and carcinogenesis.HSCs were obtained from WT and Axl(-/-) mice, treated with recombinant Gas6 protein (rGas6), Axl siRNAs or the Axl inhibitor BGB324, and analyzed by western blot and real-time PCR. Experimental fibrosis was studied in CCl4-treated WT and Axl(-/-) mice, and in combination with Axl inhibitor. Gas6 and Axl serum levels were measured in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) patients.In primary mouse HSCs, Gas6 and Axl levels paralleled HSC activation. rGas6 phosphorylated Axl and AKT prior to HSC phenotypic changes, while Axl siRNA silencing reduced HSC activation. Moreover, BGB324 blocked Axl/AKT phosphorylation and diminished HSC activation. In addition, Axl(-/-) mice displayed decreased HSC activation in vitro and liver fibrogenesis after chronic damage by CCl4 administration. Similarly, BGB324 reduced collagen deposition and CCl4-induced liver fibrosis in mice. Importantly, Gas6 and Axl serum levels increased in ALD and HCV patients, inversely correlating with liver functionality.The Gas6/Axl axis is required for full HSC activation. Gas6 and Axl serum levels increase in parallel to chronic liver disease progression. Axl targeting may be a therapeutic strategy for liver fibrosis management.
Project description:We have developed a novel model for depleting mouse hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) that has allowed us to clarify their contributions to hepatic injury and fibrosis. Transgenic (Tg) mice expressing the herpes simplex virus thymidine kinase gene (HSV-Tk) driven by the mouse GFAP promoter were used to render proliferating HSCs susceptible to killing in response to ganciclovir (GCV). Effects of GCV were explored in primary HSCs and in vivo. Panlobular damage was provoked to maximize HSC depletion by combining CCl(4) (centrilobular injury) with allyl alcohol (AA) (periportal injury), as well as in a bile duct ligation (BDL) model. Cell depletion in situ was quantified using dual immunofluorescence (IF) for desmin and GFAP. In primary HSCs isolated from both untreated wild-type (WT) and Tg mice, GCV induced cell death in ? 50% of HSCs from Tg, but not WT, mice. In TG mice treated with CCl(4) +AA+GCV, there was a significant decrease in GFAP and desmin-positive cells, compared to WT mice (? 65% reduction; P < 0.01), which was accompanied by a decrease in the expression of HSC-activation markers (alpha smooth muscle actin, beta platelet-derived growth factor receptor, and collagen I). Similar results were observed after BDL. Associated with HSC depletion in both fibrosis models, there was marked attenuation of fibrosis and liver injury, as indicated by Sirius Red/Fast Green, hematoxylin and eosin quantification, and serum alanine/aspartate aminotransferase. Hepatic expression of interleukin-10 and interferon-gamma was increased after HSC depletion. No toxicity of GCV in either WT or Tg mice accounted for the differences in injury.Activated HSCs significantly amplify the response to liver injury, further expanding this cell type's repertoire in orchestrating hepatic injury and repair.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:The role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in liver fibrosis is controversial because loss and gain of AhR activity both lead to liver fibrosis. The goal of this study was to investigate how the expression of AhR by different liver cell types, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in particular, affects liver fibrosis in mice. METHODS:We studied the effects of AhR on primary mouse and human HSCs, measuring their activation and stimulation of fibrogenesis using RNA-sequencing analysis. C57BL/6J mice were given the AhR agonists 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) or 2-(1'H-indole-3'-carbonyl)-thiazole-4-carboxylic acid methyl ester (ITE); were given carbon tetrachloride (CCl4); or underwent bile duct ligation. We also performed studies in mice with disruption of Ahr specifically in HSCs, hepatocytes, or Kupffer cells. Liver tissues were collected from mice and analyzed by histology, immunohistochemistry, and immunoblotting. RESULTS:AhR was expressed at high levels in quiescent HSCs, but the expression decreased with HSC activation. Activation of HSCs from AhR-knockout mice was accelerated compared with HSCs from wild-type mice. In contrast, TCDD or ITE inhibited spontaneous and transforming growth factor ?-induced activation of HSCs. Mice with disruption of Ahr in HSCs, but not hepatocytes or Kupffer cells, developed more severe fibrosis after administration of CCl4 or bile duct ligation. C57BL/6J mice given ITE did not develop CCl4-induced liver fibrosis, whereas mice without HSC AhR given ITE did develop CCl4-induced liver fibrosis. In studies of mouse and human HSCs, we found that AhR prevents transforming growth factor ?-induced fibrogenesis by disrupting the interaction of Smad3 with ?-catenin, which prevents the expression of genes that mediate fibrogenesis. CONCLUSIONS:In studies of human and mouse HSCs, we found that AhR prevents HSC activation and expression of genes required for liver fibrogenesis. Development of nontoxic AhR agonists or strategies to activate AhR signaling in HSCs might be developed to prevent or treat liver fibrosis.
Project description:Hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation on liver injury facilitates fibrosis. Hepatokines affecting HSCs are largely unknown. Here we show that hepcidin inhibits HSC activation and ameliorates liver fibrosis. We observe that hepcidin levels are inversely correlated with exacerbation of fibrosis in patients, and also confirm the relationship in animal models. Adenoviral delivery of hepcidin to mice attenuates liver fibrosis induced by CCl4 treatment or bile duct ligation. In cell-based assays, either hepcidin from hepatocytes or exogenous hepcidin suppresses HSC activation by inhibiting TGF?1-mediated Smad3 phosphorylation via Akt. In activated HSCs, ferroportin is upregulated, which can be prevented by hepcidin treatment. Similarly, ferroportin knockdown in HSCs prohibits TGF?1-inducible Smad3 phosphorylation and increases Akt phosphorylation, whereas ferroportin over-expression has the opposite effect. HSC-specific ferroportin deletion also ameliorates liver fibrosis. In summary, hepcidin suppresses liver fibrosis by impeding TGF?1-induced Smad3 phosphorylation in HSCs, which depends on Akt activated by a deficiency of ferroportin.