Human liver chimeric mouse model based on diphtheria toxin-induced liver injury.
ABSTRACT: To establish an inducible liver injury mouse model and transplant human hepatocytes to obtain liver-humanized mice.We crossed three mouse strains, including albumin (Alb)-cre transgenic mice, inducible diphtheria toxin receptor (DTR) transgenic mice and severe combined immune deficient (SCID)-beige mice, to create Alb-cre/DTR/SCID-beige (ADSB) mice, which coincidentally harbor Alb-cre and DTR transgenes and are immunodeficient. As the Cre expression is driven by the liver-specific promoter Alb (encoding ALB), the DTR stop signal flanked by two loxP sites can be deleted in the ADSB mice, resulting in DTR expression in the liver. ADSB mice aged 8-10 wk were injected intraperitoneally (i.p.) with diphtheria toxin (DT) and liver damage was assessed by serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) level. Two days later, mouse livers were sampled for histological analysis, and human hepatocytes were transplanted into the livers on the same day. A human ALB enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed 7, 14, 21 and 28 d after transplantation. Human CD68 immunohistochemistry was performed 30 and 90 d after transplantation.We crossed Alb-cre with DTR and SCID-beige mice to obtain ADSB mice. These mice were found to have liver damage 4 d after i.p. injection of 2.5 ng/g bodyweight DT. Bodyweight began to decrease on day 2, increased on day 7, and was lowest on day 4 (range, 10.5%-13.4%). Serum ALT activity began to increase on day 2 and reached a peak value of 289.7 ± 16.2 IU/mL on day 4, then returned to background values on day 7. After transplantation of human liver cells, peripheral blood human ALB level was 1580 ± 454.8 ng/mL (range, 750.2-3064.9 ng/mL) after 28 d and Kupffer cells were present in the liver at 30 d in ADSB mice.Human hepatocytes were successfully repopulated in the livers of ADSB mice. The inducible mouse model of humanized liver in ADSB mice may have functional applications, such as hepatocyte transplantation, hepatic regeneration and drug metabolism.
Project description:Chimeric mice with humanized livers were recently established by transplanting human hepatocytes. This mouse model that is repopulated with functional human hepatocytes could be a useful tool for investigating human hepatic cell biology and drug metabolism and for other preclinical applications. Successfully transplanting human hepatocytes into mice requires that recipient mice with liver failure do not reject these human cells and provide a suitable microenvironment (supportive niche) to promote human donor cell expansion and differentiation. To overcome the limitations of current mouse models, we used Alb-TRECK/SCID mice for in vivo human immature hepatocyte differentiation and humanized liver generation.1.5 ?g/kg diphtheria toxin was administrated into 8-week-old Alb-TRECK/SCID mice, and the degree of liver damage was assessed by serum aspartate aminotransferase activity levels. Forty-eight hours later, mice livers were sampled for histological analyses, and the human donor cells were then transplanted into mice livers on the same day. Chimeric rate and survival rate after cell transplantation was evaluated. Expressions of human hepatic-related genes were detected. A human albumin enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed after 50 days of transplantation. On day 60 after transplantation, drug metabolism was examined in mice.Both human primary fetal liver cells and hepatic stem cells were successfully repopulated in the livers of Alb-TRECK/SCID mice that developed lethal fulminant hepatic failure after administering diphtheria toxin; the repopulation rate in some mice was nearly 100%. Compared with human primary fetal liver cells, human hepatic stem cell transplantation rescued Alb-TRECK/SCID mice with lethal fulminant hepatic failure, and human hepatic stem cell-derived humanized livers secreted more human albumin into mouse sera and also functioned as a "human liver" that could metabolize the drugs ketoprofen and debrisoquine.Our model of a humanized liver in Alb-TRECK/SCID mice may provide for functional applications such as drug metabolism, drug to drug interactions, and promote other in vivo and in vitro studies.
Project description:The liver has one of the highest rates of heme synthesis of any organ. More than 50% of the heme synthesized in the liver is used for synthesis of P450 enzymes, which metabolize exogenous and endogenous compounds that include natural products, hormones, drugs, and carcinogens. Feline leukemia virus subgroup C cellular receptor 1a (FLVCR1a) is plasma membrane heme exporter that is ubiquitously expressed and controls intracellular heme content in hematopoietic lineages. We investigated the role of Flvcr1a in liver function in mice.We created mice with conditional disruption of Mfsd7b, which encodes Flvcr1a, in hepatocytes (Flvcr1a(fl/fl);alb-cre mice). Mice were analyzed under basal conditions, after phenylhydrazine-induced hemolysis, and after induction of cytochromes P450 synthesis. Livers were collected and analyzed by histologic, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, and immunoblot analyses. Hepatic P450 enzymatic activities were measured.Flvcr1a(fl/fl);alb-cre mice accumulated heme and iron in liver despite up-regulation of heme oxygenase 1, ferroportin, and ferritins. Hepatic heme export activity of Flvcr1a was closely associated with heme biosynthesis, which is required to sustain cytochrome induction. Upon cytochromes P450 stimulation, Flvcr1a(fl/fl);alb-cre mice had reduced cytochrome activity, associated with accumulation of heme in hepatocytes. The expansion of the cytosolic heme pool in these mice was likely responsible for the early inhibition of heme synthesis and increased degradation of heme, which reduced expression and activity of cytochromes P450.In livers of mice, Flvcr1a maintains a free heme pool that regulates heme synthesis and degradation as well as cytochromes P450 expression and activity. These findings have important implications for drug metabolism.
Project description:Background: Inactivation of microRNA-100 (miR-100) is involved in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and miR-100 behaves as a tumor suppressor. To understand miR-100 function in HCC genesis and development in vivo, we developed hepatocyte-specific miR-100 deficient mice. Methods: Mice homozygous for floxed miR-100 allele that carried the Alb-Cre transgene (miR-100flox/floxAlb -Cre+) were developed by mating miR-100flox/flox mice with Alb-Cre+/+mice. The mice tails DNA were genotyped using the primers for LoxP sites and Cre recombinase, respectively. The specific deletion of miR-100 in the livers was verified by quantitative Real-time PCR (qRT-PCR). HE-staining was performed for histology analysis. Liver function was assessed by transaminase activity. The metabolic profiles of the hepatocytes were detected using a Seahorse XFe24 extracellular flux analyzer. The direct targets of miR-100 (such as IGF1R-?, mTOR and CDC25A) and HCC related protein (SHP-2) were detected by qRT-PCR and Western blot in liver tissues. Results: The resultant homozygous knockout mice with genotype of miR-100flox/flox-Alb-Cre+ showed an 80% decrease in hepatic miR-100 expression. In adult mice, miR-100 knockout has no effect on the liver function and morphology. In aged mice, HE staining showed that miR-100 knockout caused infiltration of inflammatory cells and expansion of hepatocellular nuclei. Consistently, liver function was impaired in miR-100 knockout aged mice as indicated by increased serum AST and ALT levels. The metabolic analysis demonstrated that the miR-100 knockout hepatocytes tend to adopt glycolysis. The expressions of the miR-100 target genes, such as IGF1R-?, CDC25A and mTOR, were increased. In addition, the known HCC related protein, SHP-2 also was up-regulated in the knockout livers. Conclusions: We successfully generated a miR-100 hepatocyte-specific knock-out mouse model. The malignant transformation related to HCC were observed in aged mice. Therefore, this model is suitable for investigating the mechanism of miR-100 inactivation contributing to HCC genesis in vivo.
Project description:There is increasing evidence that mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) derived from different tissues could act as an alternative source of mature hepatocytes for treatment of acute liver failure (ALF). Human umbilical cord matrix stem cells (hUCMSCs) represent a novel source of MSCs. We examined the therapeutic potential and the different mechanisms of hUCMSCs by their transplantation into nonobese diabetic severe combined-immunodeficient (NOD-SCID) mice with carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4))-induced ALF in comparison to adult human hepatocytes (AHHs). The characteristics of isolated hUCMSCs were determined from MSCs and hepatocyte marker expression, hepatic function, and differentiation. Native hUCMSCs constitutively expressed some hepatic markers, though weaker hepatocyte-specific functions were observed when compared to AHHs. When native hUCMSCs or AHHs were transplanted into livers of NOD-SCID mice with ALF induced by CCl(4), both hUCMSCs and AHHs provided a significant survival benefit and prevented the release of liver injury biomarkers. hUCMSCs were found to engraft within the recipient liver and differentiated into functional hepatocytes, whereas the HepPar1-/albumin (ALB)-positive cells of the hUCMSC group were less than the AHH group in the recipient liver. Higher values of human ALB in the serum of mice-transplanted AHHs were determined in comparison with levels in mice-transplanted hUCMSCs. The analysis of mouse serum cytokine levels showed that hUCMSC transplantation was even more effective than treatment with AHHs and successfully downregulated the systemic inflammatory cytokines such as interleukin (IL)-1?, tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-?, IL-6, IL-10, and IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA). Furthermore, paracrine effects produced by hUCMSCs were identified by indirect coculture with damaged mouse hepatocytes (MHs) induced by CCl(4). Coculture with hUCMSCs significantly increased the viability, ALB secretion of damaged MHs, and greatly enhanced the regeneration of MHs in vitro when compared with AHHs. These data suggest that direct transplantation of native hUCMSCs can rescue ALF and repopulate livers of mice through paracrine effects to stimulate endogenous liver regeneration rather than hepatic differentiation for compensated liver function, which is the primary effect of AHHs. Thus, hUCMSCs can be a potential alternative source of AHHs for cell therapy of ALF and eliminate the shortage of hepatocytes.
Project description:We have used homozygous albumin enhancer/promoter-driven urokinase-type plasminogen activator/severe combined immunodeficient (uPA/SCID) mice as hosts for chimeric mice with humanized livers. However, uPA/SCID mice show four disadvantages: the human hepatocytes (h-heps) replacement index in mouse liver is decreased due to deletion of uPA transgene by homologous recombination, kidney disorders are likely to develop, body size is small, and hemizygotes cannot be used as hosts as more frequent homologous recombination than homozygotes. To solve these disadvantages, we have established a novel host strain that has a transgene containing albumin promoter/enhancer and urokinase-type plasminogen activator cDNA and has a SCID background (cDNA-uPA/SCID). We applied the embryonic stem cell technique to simultaneously generate a number of transgenic lines, and found the line with the most appropriate levels of uPA expression-not detrimental but with a sufficiently damaged liver. We transplanted h-heps into homozygous and hemizygous cDNA-uPA/SCID mice via the spleen, and monitored their human albumin (h-alb) levels and body weight. Blood h-alb levels and body weight gradually increased in the hemizygous cDNA-uPA/SCID mice and were maintained until they were approximately 30 weeks old. By contrast, blood h-alb levels and body weight in uPA/SCID chimeric mice decreased from 16 weeks of age onwards. A similar decrease in body weight was observed in the homozygous cDNA-uPA/SCID genotype, but h-alb levels were maintained until they were approximately 30 weeks old. Microarray analyses revealed identical h-heps gene expression profiles in homozygous and hemizygous cDNA-uPA/SCID mice were identical to that observed in the uPA/SCID mice. Furthermore, like uPA/SCID chimeric mice, homozygous and hemizygous cDNA-uPA/SCID chimeric mice were successfully infected with hepatitis B virus and C virus. These results indicate that hemizygous cDNA-uPA/SCID mice may be novel and useful hosts for producing chimeric mice for use in future long-term studies, including hepatitis virus infection analysis or drug toxicity studies.
Project description:CD74, a Type II membrane glycoprotein and MHC class II chaperone involved in antigen processing, is normally expressed by cells associated with the immune system. CD74 also forms heterodimers with CD44 to generate receptors to macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF), a proinflammatory cytokine. Following targeted Alb-Cre-mediated deletion of Ikk? in Ikk?(?hep) mice (Ikk?(F/F):Alb-Cre, a strain highly susceptible to chemically induced hepatotoxicity and hepatocarcinogenesis), CD74 is expressed abundantly by adult hepatocytes throughout liver acini, albeit more intensely in midzonal-to-centrilobular regions. By comparison, CD74 expression is not observed in Ikk?(F/F) hepatocytes, nor is it augmented in the livers of Ikk?(+/+):Alb-Cre mice; CD74 is barely detectable in cultured embryonic fibroblasts from Ikk?(-/-) mice. Microarray profiling shows that constitutive CD74 expression in Ikk?(?hep) hepatocytes is accompanied by significantly augmented expression of CD44 and key genes associated with antigen processing and host defense, including MHC class II I-A?, I-A?, and I-E? chains, CIITA and CD86. Taken together, these observations suggest that Ikk?(?hep) hepatocytes might express functional capacities for class II-restricted antigen presentation and heightened responsiveness to MIF-signaling, and also suggest further roles for intrahepatocellular IKK? in the suppression or inactivation of molecules normally associated with the formation and differentiation of cells of the immune system.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) co-opts the very-low-density lipoprotein pathway for morphogenesis, maturation, and secretion, and circulates as lipoviroparticles (LVPs). We investigated the functions and underlying mechanisms of the lipid-associated TM6SF2 protein in modulating LVP formation and the HCV life cycle. METHODS:We knocked down or overexpressed TM6SF2 in hepatic cells and examined HCV infection, measuring viral RNA and protein levels and infectious LVP titers. The density of secreted LVPs was evaluated by iodixanol gradient assay. We measured levels and patterns of TM6SF2 in liver biopsies from 73 patients with chronic hepatitis C, livers of HCV-infected humanized Alb-uPA/SCID/beige mice, and HCV-infected Huh7.5.1 cells. RESULTS:TM6SF2 knockdown in hepatocytes reduced viral RNA and infectious viral particle secretion without affecting HCV genome replication, translation, or assembly. Overexpression of TM6SF2 reduced intracellular levels of HCV RNA and infectious LVPs, and conversely increased their levels in the culture supernatants. In HCV-infected cells, TM6SF2 overexpression resulted in production of more infectious LVPs in the lower-density fractions of supernatant. HCV infection increased TM6SF2 expression in cultured cells, humanized livers of mice, and liver tissues of HCV patients. TM6SF2 messenger RNA levels correlated positively with HCV RNA levels in liver biopsies from patients. SREBF2 appears to mediate the ability of HCV to increase the expression of TM6SF2 in hepatic cells. CONCLUSIONS:In studies of cells, mice and human liver tissues, we found TM6SF2 is required for maturation, lipidation, and secretion of infectious LVPs. HCV, in turn, up-regulates expression of TM6SF2 to facilitate productive infection.
Project description:The contributions that de novo differentiation of new hepatocyte lineages makes to normal liver physiology are unknown. In this study, a system that uniquely marks cells during a finite period following primary activation of a serum albumin gene promoter/enhancer-driven Cre recombinase (albCre) transgene was used to investigate birthrates of new hepatocyte lineages from albumin (Alb)-naive precursors in mice. Elapsed time was measured with a two-color fluorescent marker gene that converts from expressing tandem dimer Tomato (tdT; a red fluorescent protein) to expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) following primary exposure to Cre. The accumulation of GFP and the decay of tdT each contributed to a regular fluorescence transition, which was calibrated in vivo. In normal adults, this system revealed that a steady-state level of 0.076% of all hepatocytes had differentiated within the previous 4 days from albCre-naive cell lineages. In comparison with resting adult livers, the relative abundance of these newborn hepatocytes was elevated 3.7-fold in the growing livers of juveniles and 8.6-fold during liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy in adults.Newborn hepatocyte lineages arising from Alb-naive cells contribute to liver maintenance under normal conditions. Hepatocyte lineage birthrates can vary in response to the liver's physiological status.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Hepatocyte transplantation to treat liver disease is largely limited by the availability of useful cells. Human amniotic epithelial cells (hAECs) from term placenta express surface markers and gene characteristics of embryonic stem cells and have the ability to differentiate into all three germ layers, including tissues of endodermal origin (i.e., liver). Thus, hAECs could provide a source of stem cell-derived hepatocytes for transplantation. We investigated the differentiation of hAECs in vitro and after transplantation into the livers of severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)/beige mice. Moreover, we tested the ability of rat amniotic epithelial cells (rAECs) to replicate and differentiate upon transplantation into a syngenic model of liver repopulation. In vitro results indicate that the presence of extracellular matrix proteins together with a mixture of growth factors, cytokines, and hormones are required for differentiation of hAECs into hepatocyte-like cells. Differentiated hAECs expressed hepatocyte markers at levels comparable to those of fetal hepatocytes. They were able to metabolize ammonia, testosterone, and 17?-hydroxyprogesterone caproate, and expressed inducible fetal cytochromes. After transplantation into the liver of retrorsine (RS)-treated SCID/beige mice, naïve hAECs differentiated into hepatocyte-like cells that expressed mature liver genes such as cytochromes, plasma proteins, transporters, and other hepatic enzymes at levels equal to adult liver tissue. When transplanted in a syngenic animal pretreated with RS, rAECs were able to engraft and generate a progeny of cells with morphology and protein expression typical of mature hepatocytes. CONCLUSION:Amniotic epithelial cells possess the ability to differentiate into cells with characteristics of functional hepatocytes both in vitro and in vivo, thus representing a useful and noncontroversial source of cells for transplantation.
Project description:Previous work has established that HGF/c-Met signaling plays a pivotal role in regulating the onset of S phase following partial hepatectomy (PH). In this study, we used Met(fl/fl);Alb-Cre(+/-) conditional knockout mice to determine the effects of c-Met dysfunction in hepatocytes on kinetics of liver regeneration.The priming events appeared to be intact in Met(fl/fl);Alb-Cre(+/-) livers. Up-regulation of stress response (MAFK, IKBZ, SOCS3) and early growth response (c-Myc, c-Jun, c-Fos, DUSP1 and 6) genes as assessed by RT-qPCR and/or microarray profiling was unchanged. This was consistent with an early induction of MAPK/Erk and STAT3. However, after a successful completion of the first round of DNA replication, c-Met deficient hepatocytes were blocked in early/mid G2 phase as shown by staining with phosphorylated form of histone H3. Furthermore, loss of c-Met in hepatocytes diminished the subsequent G1/S progression and delayed liver recovery after partial hepatectomy. Upstream signaling pathways involved in the blockage of G2/M transition included lack of persistent Erk1/2 activation and inability to up-regulate the levels of Cdk1, Plk1, Aurora A and B, and Mad2 along with a defective histone 3 phosphorylation and lack of chromatin condensation. Continuous supplementation with EGF in vitro increased proliferation of Met(fl/fl);Alb-Cre(+/-) primary hepatocytes and partially restored expression levels of mitotic cell cycle regulators albeit to a lesser degree as compared to control cultures.In conclusion, our results assign a novel non-redundant function for HGF/c-Met signaling in regulation of G2/M gene expression program via maintaining a persistent Erk1/2 activation throughout liver regeneration.