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FOXA2 alleviates CCl4-induced liver fibrosis by protecting hepatocytes in mice.


ABSTRACT: The liver-enriched transcription factor Forkhead Box A2 (FOXA2) has been reported to be involved in bile acid homeostasis and bile duct development. However, the role of FOXA2 in liver fibrogenesis remains undefined. In this study, we found that the abundance of FOXA2 was significantly lower in fibrotic livers of patients and mice treated with CCl4 than in controls. Interestingly, the expression level of FOXA2 decreased in hepatocytes, whereas FOXA2 was elevated in hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) of mouse fibrotic livers. Hepatocyte-specific ablation of FOXA2 in adult mice exacerbated liver fibrosis induced by CCl4. Either lentivirus LV-CMV-FOXA2 mediated FOXA2 overexpression in the liver or adeno-associated virus AAV8-TBG-FOXA2-mediated hepatocyte-specific upregulation of FOXA2 alleviated hepatic fibrosis. Overexpression of FOXA2 in HSCs did not obviously affect hepatic fibrogenesis. Additionally, FOXA2 knockout in hepatocytes resulted in aberrant transcription of metabolic genes. Furthermore, hepatocyte-specific knockout of FOXA2 enhanced endoplasmic reticulum stress (ER stress) and the apoptosis of hepatocytes, whereas FOXA2 overexpression in hepatocytes suppressed ER stress and hepatocyte apoptosis in mouse fibrotic livers. In conclusion, our findings suggested that FOXA2-mediated hepatocyte protection has a therapeutic role in hepatic fibrosis, and thus may be a new, promising anti-fibrotic option for treating chronic liver diseases.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC5686201 | BioStudies |

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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