Recombinant relaxin protects liver transplants from ischemia damage by hepatocyte glucocorticoid receptor: From bench-to-bedside.
ABSTRACT: Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) represents a major risk factor of early graft dysfunction and acute/chronic rejection as well as a key obstacle to expanding the donor pool in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Although glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling may enhance cytoprotective programs, clinical use of glucocorticoid is limited because of adverse effects, whereas clinical relevance of GR-facilitated cytoprotection in OLT remains unknown. We aimed to evaluate the significance of hepatic GR in clinical OLT and verify the impact of recombinant human relaxin (rhRLX), which may function as a GR agonist in a tissue/disease-specific manner. Fifty-one OLT patients were recruited under an institutional research board (IRB) protocol. Liver biopsies were collected after cold storage (presurgery) and 2 hours postreperfusion (before abdominal closure), followed by western blotting-assisted hepatic analyses. Forty-three percent of OLTs failed to increase GR perioperatively under surgical stress. Post-/pre-GR ratios at postoperative day 1 correlated negatively with serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST)/cleaved caspase-3 and positively with B-cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xL)/B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) levels. In a murine OLT model with extended (18-hour) cold storage, treatment with rhRLX ameliorated ischemia-reperfusion (IR) damage and improved survival while up-regulating hepatocyte GR and Bcl-xL/Bcl-2 expression in OLT. rhRLX-induced GR suppressed hepatocyte high-mobility group box 1 (HMGB1) translocation/release, accompanied by decreased Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4)/receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE), suppressed interleukin 1 beta (IL1?), chemokine (C-C motif) ligand 2 (CCL2), C-X-C motif chemokine (CXCL)10, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF?), CXCL1, and CXCL2 levels, and attenuated neutrophil/macrophage accumulation in OLT. Inhibition of GR in hepatocyte culture and in OLT diminished rhRLX-mediated cytoprotection. CONCLUSION:This translational study underscores the role of rhRLX-GR signaling as a regulator of hepatocellular protection against IR stress in OLT. In the context of a recent phase III clinical trial demonstrating positive outcomes of rhRLX in patients with acute heart failure, studies on rhRLX for the management of IRI in OLT recipients are warranted. (Hepatology 2018;68:258-273).
Project description:Although CEACAM1 (CC1) glycoprotein resides at the interface of immune liver injury and metabolic homeostasis, its role in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains elusive. We aimed to determine whether/how CEACAM1 signaling may affect hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and OLT outcomes. In the mouse, donor liver CC1 null mutation augmented IRI-OLT (CC1-KO?WT) by enhancing ROS expression and HMGB1 translocation during cold storage, data supported by in vitro studies where hepatic flush from CC1-deficient livers enhanced macrophage activation in bone marrow-derived macrophage cultures. Although hepatic CC1 deficiency augmented cold stress-triggered ASK1/p-p38 upregulation, adjunctive ASK1 inhibition alleviated IRI and improved OLT survival by suppressing p-p38 upregulation, ROS induction, and HMGB1 translocation (CC1-KO?WT), whereas ASK1 silencing (siRNA) promoted cytoprotection in cold-stressed and damage-prone CC1-deficient hepatocyte cultures. Consistent with mouse data, CEACAM1 expression in 60 human donor liver biopsies correlated negatively with activation of the ASK1/p-p38 axis, whereas low CC1 levels associated with increased ROS and HMGB1 translocation, enhanced innate and adaptive immune responses, and inferior early OLT function. Notably, reduced donor liver CEACAM1 expression was identified as one of the independent predictors for early allograft dysfunction (EAD) in human OLT patients. Thus, as a checkpoint regulator of IR stress and sterile inflammation, CEACAM1 may be considered as a denominator of donor hepatic tissue quality, and a target for therapeutic modulation in OLT recipients.
Project description:Hepatic injury due to cold storage followed by reperfusion remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). CD4 T cell TIM-1 signaling costimulates a variety of immune responses in allograft recipients. This study analyzes mechanisms by which TIM-1 affects liver ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in a murine model of prolonged cold storage followed by OLT. Livers from C57BL/6 mice, preserved at 4°C in the UW solution for 20 h, were transplanted to syngeneic recipients. There was an early (1 h) increased accumulation of TIM-1+ activated CD4 T cells in the ischemic OLTs. Disruption of TIM-1 signaling with a blocking mAb (RMT1-10) ameliorated liver damage, evidenced by reduced sALT levels and well-preserved architecture. Unlike in controls, TIM-1 blockade diminished OLT expression of Tbet/IFN-?, but amplified IL-4/IL-10/IL-22; abolished neutrophil and macrophage infiltration/activation and inhibited NF-?B while enhancing Bcl-2/Bcl-xl. Although adoptive transfer of CD4 T cells triggered liver damage in otherwise IR-resistant RAG(-/-) mice, adjunctive TIM-1 blockade reduced Tbet transcription and abolished macrophage activation, restoring homeostasis in IR-stressed livers. Further, transfer of TIM-1(Hi) CD4+, but not TIM-1(Lo) CD4+ T cells, recreated liver IRI in RAG(-/-) mice. Thus, TIM-1 expressing CD4 T cells are required in the mechanism of innate immune-mediated hepatic IRI in OLTs.
Project description:Sotraustaurin (STN), a small molecule, targeted protein kinase C (PKC) inhibitor that prevents T-lymphocyte activation via a calcineurin-independent pathway, is currently being tested in Phase II renal and liver transplantation clinical trials. We have documented the key role of activated T cells in the inflammation cascade leading to liver ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI). This study explores putative cytoprotective functions of STN in a clinically relevant rat model of hepatic cold ischemia followed by orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Livers from Sprague-Dawley rats were stored for 30 h at 4°C in UW solution, and then transplanted to syngeneic recipients. STN treatment of liver donors/recipients or recipients only prolonged OLT survival to >90% (vs. 40% in controls), decreased hepatocellular damage and improved histological features of IRI. STN treatment decreased activation of T cells, and diminished macrophage/neutrophil accumulation in OLTs. These beneficial effects were accompanied by diminished apoptosis, NF-?B/ERK signaling, depressed proapoptotic cleaved caspase-3, yet upregulated antiapoptotic Bcl-2/Bcl-xl and hepatic cell proliferation. In vitro, STN decreased PKC?/I?B? activation and IL-2/IFN-? production in ConA-stimulated spleen T cells, and diminished TNF-?/IL-1? in macrophage-T cell cocultures. This study documents positive effects of STN on liver IRI in OLT rat model that may translate as an additional benefit of STN in clinical liver transplantation.
Project description:Liver ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) represents a major risk factor of early graft dysfunction and a key obstacle to expanding the donor pool in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Although graft autophagy is essential for resistance against hepatic IRI, its significance in clinical OLT remains unknown. Despite recent data identifying heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) as a putative autophagy inducer, its role in OLT and interactions with sirtuin-1 (SIRT1), a key autophagy regulator, have not been studied. We aimed to examine HO-1-mediated autophagy induction in human OLT and in a murine OLT model with extended (20 hours) cold storage, as well as to analyze the requirement for SIRT1 in autophagy regulation by HO-1. Fifty-one hepatic biopsy specimens from OLT patients were collected under an institutional review board protocol 2 hours after portal reperfusion, followed by Western blot analyses. High HO-1 levels correlated with well-preserved hepatocellular function and enhanced SIRT1/LC3B expression. In mice, HO-1 overexpression by genetically modified HO-1 macrophage therapy was accompanied by decreased OLT damage and increased SIRT1/LC3B expression, whereas adjunctive inhibition of SIRT1 signaling diminished HO-1-mediated hepatoprotection and autophagy induction. Our translational study confirms the clinical relevance of HO-1 cytoprotection and identifies SIRT1-mediated autophagy pathway as a new essential regulator of HO-1 function in IR-stressed OLT.
Project description:Liver endothelial cell (LEC) damage is essential in the pathogenesis of ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) in transplant recipients. We analyzed the mechanism of LEC resistance against IRI by using a novel recombinant soluble form of P selectin glycoprotein ligand 1, tandem P selectin glycoprotein ligand immunoglobulin (TSGL-Ig), in a mouse model of hepatic cold preservation (4°C in University of Wisconsin solution for 20 h) and syngeneic orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Unlike controls, TSGL-Ig protected orthotopic liver transplants against ischemia-reperfusion (IR) stress, shown by depressed serum alanine aminotransferase levels, well-preserved hepatic architecture, and improved survival (42% vs. 92%). TSGL-Ig suppressed neutrophil/macrophage sequestration and proinflammatory cytokine/chemokine programs in OLT. Treatment with TSGL-Ig mitigated LEC activation (P and E selectin, VCAM-1 and intercellular adhesion molecule 1 expression). In parallel in vitro studies, TSGL-Ig diminished cellular damage in H2 O2 -stressed LEC cultures (lactic acid dehydrogenase and alanine aminotransferase levels). Increased thioredoxin, glutamate-cysteine ligase, NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1, and hypoxia-inducible factor 1? expression, along with transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), implied that TSGL-Ig exerts antioxidant functions in IR-stressed OLT and H2 O2 -stressed LECs. Indeed, Nrf2-deficient livers suffered fulminant IRI compared with WT despite concomitant TSGL-Ig therapy. Thus, TSGL-Ig is not only acting as a competitive antagonist blocking leukocyte migration into IR-stressed liver, but it may also act directly as an agonist stimulating Nrf2-mediated cytoprotection in LECs. This study supports the role of P selectin signaling in hepatic homeostasis in OLT, with broad implications for tissue damage conditions.
Project description:The Keap1-Nrf2 signaling pathway regulates host cell defense responses against oxidative stress and maintains the cellular redox balance.We investigated the function/molecular mechanisms by which Keap1-Nrf2 complex may influence liver ischemia/reperfusion injury (IRI) in a mouse model of hepatic cold storage (20h at 4°C) followed by orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT).The Keap1 hepatocyte-specific knockout (HKO) in the donor liver ameliorated post-transplant IRI, evidenced by improved hepatocellular function and OLT outcomes (Keap1 HKO?Keap1 HKO; 100% survival), as compared with controls (WT?WT; 50% survival; p<0.01). By contrast, donor liver Nrf2 deficiency exacerbated IRI in transplant recipients (Nrf2 KO?Nrf2 KO; 40% survival). Ablation of Keap1 signaling reduced macrophage/neutrophil trafficking, pro-inflammatory cytokine programs, and hepatocellular necrosis/apoptosis, while simultaneously promoting anti-apoptotic functions in OLTs. At the molecular level, Keap1 HKO increased Nrf2 levels, stimulated Akt phosphorylation, and enhanced expression of anti-oxidant Trx1, HIF-1?, and HO-1. Pretreatment of liver donors with PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) disrupted Akt/HIF-1A signaling and recreated hepatocellular damage in otherwise IR-resistant Keap1 HKO transplants. In parallel in vitro studies, hydrogen peroxide-stressed Keap1-deficient hepatocytes were characterized by enhanced expression of Nrf2, Trx1, and Akt phosphorylation, in association with decreased release of lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) in cell culture supernatants.Keap1-Nrf2 complex prevents oxidative injury in IR-stressed OLTs through Keap1 signaling, which negatively regulates Nrf2 pathway. Activation of Nrf2 induces Trx1 and promotes PI3K/Akt, crucial for HIF-1? activity. HIF-1?-mediated overexpression of HO-1/Cyclin D1 facilitates cytoprotection by limiting hepatic inflammatory responses, and hepatocellular necrosis/apoptosis in a PI3K-dependent manner.
Project description:Although modifications of gut microbiota with antibiotics (Abx) influence mouse skin and cardiac allografts, its role in orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) remains unknown. We aimed to determine whether and how recipient Abx pretreatment may affect hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) and OLT outcomes. Mice (C57BL/6) with or without Abx treatment (10 days) were transplanted with allogeneic (BALB/c) cold-stored (18 hours) livers, followed by liver and blood sampling (6 hours). We divided 264 human OLT recipients on the basis of duration of pre-OLT Abx treatment into control (Abx-free/Abx <10 days; n = 108) and Abx treatment (Abx ≥10days; n = 156) groups; OLT biopsy (Bx) samples were collected 2 hours after OLT (n = 52). Abx in mice mitigated IRI-stressed OLT (IRI-OLT), decreased CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein (CHOP) (endoplasmic reticulum [ER] stress), enhanced LC3B (autophagy), and inhibited inflammation, whereas it increased serum prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) and hepatic PGE2 receptor 4 (EP4) expression. PGE2 increased EP4, suppressed CHOP, and induced autophagosome formation in hepatocyte cultures in an EP4-dependent manner. An EP4 antagonist restored CHOP, suppressed LC3B, and recreated IRI-OLT. Remarkably, human recipients of Abx treatment plus OLT (Abx-OLT), despite severe pretransplantation clinical acuity, had higher EP4 and LC3B levels but lower CHOP levels, which coincided with improved hepatocellular function (serum aspartate aminotransferase/serum aspartate aminotransferase [sALT/sAST]) and a decreased incidence of early allograft dysfunction (EAD). Multivariate analysis identified "Abx-free/Abx <10 days" as a predictive factor of EAD. This study documents the benefits of Abx pretreatment in liver transplant recipients, identifies ER stress and autophagy regulation by the PGE2/EP4 axis as a homeostatic underpinning, and points to the microbiome as a therapeutic target in OLT.
Project description:Organ ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI), associated with acute hepatocyte death, remains an unresolved problem in clinical orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Autophagy, an intracellular self-digesting progress, is responsible for cell reprograming required to regain post-stress homeostasis. Methods: Here, we analyzed the cytoprotective mechanism of pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP)-promoted hepatocellular autophagy in a clinically relevant mouse model of extended hepatic cold storage (4 °C UW solution for 20 h) followed by syngeneic OLT. Results: In contrast to 41.7% of liver graft failure by day 7 post-transplant in control group, PACAP treatment significantly improved graft survival (91.7% by day 14), and promoted autophagy-associated regeneration programs in OLT. In parallel in vitro studies, PACAP-enhanced autophagy ameliorated cellular damage (LDH/ALT levels), and diminished necrosis in H2O2-stressed primary hepatocytes. Interestingly, PACAP not only induced nuclear cAMP response element-binding protein (CREB), but also triggered reprogramming factor Kruppel-like factor 4 (KLF4) expression in IR-stressed OLT. Indeed, CREB inhibition attenuated hepatic autophagy and recreated hepatocellular injury in otherwise PACAP-protected livers. Furthermore, CREB inhibition suppressed PACAP-induced KLF4 expression, whereas KLF4 blockade abolished PACAP-promoted autophagy and neutralized PACAP-mediated hepatoprotection both in vivo and in vitro. Conclusion: Current study documents the essential neural regulation of PACAP-promoted autophagy in hepatocellular homeostasis in OLT, which provides the emerging therapeutic principle to combat hepatic IRI in OLT.
Project description:Hepatic ischemia and reperfusion injury (IRI) remains an important challenge in clinical orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT). Tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) is the major endogenous regulator of matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). In this study we investigated the functional significance of TIMP-1 expression in a well-established mouse model of partial liver IRI. Compared to wildtype mice, TIMP-1(-/-) mice showed further impaired liver function and histological preservation after IRI. Notably, TIMP-1 deficiency led to lethal liver IRI, as over 60% of the TIMP-1(-/-) mice died postreperfusion, whereas all TIMP-1(+/+) mice recovered and survived surgery. Lack of TIMP-1 expression was accompanied by markedly high levels of MMP-9 activity, which facilitates leukocyte transmigration across vascular barriers in hepatic IRI. Indeed, TIMP-1(-/-) livers were characterized by massive leukocyte infiltration and by up-regulation of proinflammatory mediators, including tumor necrosis factor alpha, interferon-gamma, and inducible nitric oxide synthase post-IRI. The inability of TIMP-1(-/-) mice to express TIMP-1 increased the levels of active caspase-3 and depressed the expression of Bcl-2 and the phosphorylation of Akt, emphasizing an important role for TIMP-1 expression on hepatocyte survival. Using independent parameters of regeneration, 5-bromodeoxyuridine incorporation, proliferating cell nuclear antigen expression, and histone H3 phosphorylation, we provide evidence that hepatocyte progression into S phase and mitosis was impaired in TIMP-1-deficient livers after IRI. Inhibition of the cell cycle progression by TIMP-1 deficiency was linked to depressed levels of cyclins-D1 and -E and to a disrupted c-Met signaling pathway, as evidenced by reduced phosphorylated c-Met expression and elevated c-Met ectodomain shedding postliver IRI.These results support a critical protective function for TIMP-1 expression on promoting survival and proliferation of liver cells and on regulating leukocyte recruitment and activation in liver IRI.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Hepatic ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is a major complication of hemorrhagic shock, liver resection and transplantation. YAP, a key downstream effector of the Hippo pathway, is essential for determining cell fate and maintaining homeostasis in the liver. We aimed to elucidate its role in IRI. METHODS:The role of YAP/Hippo signaling was systematically studied in biopsy specimens from 60 patients after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT), and in a mouse model of liver warm IRI. Human biopsy specimens were collected after 2-10?h of cold storage and 3?h post-reperfusion, before being screened by western blot. In the mouse model, the role of YAP was probed by activating or inhibiting YAP prior to ischemia-reperfusion. RESULTS:In human biopsies, high post-OLT YAP expression was correlated with well-preserved histology and improved hepatocellular function at postoperative day 1-7. In mice, the ischemia insult (90?min) triggered intrinsic hepatic YAP expression, which peaked at 1-6?h of reperfusion. Activation of YAP protected the liver against IR-stress, by promoting regenerative and anti-oxidative gene induction, while diminishing oxidative stress, necrosis/apoptosis and the innate inflammatory response. Inhibition of YAP aggravated hepatic IRI and suppressed repair/anti-oxidative genes. In mouse hepatocyte cultures, activating YAP prevented hypoxia-reoxygenation induced stress. Interestingly, YAP activation suppressed extracellular matrix synthesis and diminished hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, whereas YAP inhibition significantly delayed hepatic repair, potentiated HSC activation, and enhanced liver fibrosis at 7?days post-IRI. Notably, YAP activation failed to protect Nrf2-deficient livers against IR-mediated damage, leading to extensive fibrosis. CONCLUSION:Our novel findings document the crucial role of YAP in IR-mediated hepatocellular damage and liver fibrogenesis, providing evidence of a potential therapeutic target for the management of sterile liver inflammation in transplant recipients. LAY SUMMARY:In the clinical arm, graft YAP expression negatively correlated with liver function and tissue damage after human liver transplantation. YAP activation attenuated hepatocellular oxidative stress and diminished the innate immune response in mouse livers following ischemia-reperfusion injury. In the mouse model, YAP inhibited hepatic stellate cell activation, and abolished injury-mediated fibrogenesis up to 7?days after the ischemic insult.