Complement C1q mediates the expansion of periportal hepatic progenitor cells in senescence-associated inflammatory liver.
ABSTRACT: Most hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) develop in patients with chronic hepatitis, which creates a microenvironment for the growth of hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) at the periportal area and subsequent development of HCCs. We investigated the signal from the inflammatory liver for this pathogenic process in the hepatic conditional ?-catenin knockout mouse model. Senescent ?-catenin-depleted hepatocytes in aged mice create an inflammatory microenvironment that stimulates periportal HPC expansion but arrests differentiation, which predisposes mice to the development of liver tumors. The release of complement C1q from macrophages in the inflammatory niche was identified as the unorthodox signal that activated the ?-catenin pathway in periportal HPCs and was responsible for their expansion and de-differentiation. C1q inhibitors blocked the ?-catenin pathway in both the expanding HPCs and the liver tumors but spared its orthodox pathway in pericentral normal hepatocytes. This mechanism has been validated in human liver specimens from patients with chronic hepatitis. Taken together, these results demonstrate that C1q- mediated activation of ?-catenin pathway in periportal HPCs is a previously unrecognized mechanism for replenishing hepatocytes in the inflammatory liver and, if unchecked, for promoting hepatocarcinogenesis. C1q may become a new target for blocking carcinogenesis in patients with chronic hepatitis.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Fibroblast Growth Factors (FGFs) promote the proliferation and survival of hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) via AKT-dependent ?-catenin activation. Moreover, the emergence of hepatocytes expressing the HPC marker A6 during 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine (DDC)-induced liver injury is mediated partly by FGF and ?-catenin signaling. Herein, we investigate the role of FGF signaling and AKT-mediated ?-catenin activation in acute DDC liver injury. METHODS:Transgenic mice were fed DDC chow for 14days concurrent with either Fgf10 over-expression or inhibition of FGF signaling via expression of soluble dominant-negative FGF Receptor (R)-2IIIb. RESULTS:After 14days of DDC treatment, there was an increase in periportal cells expressing FGFR1, FGFR2, and AKT-activated phospho-Serine 552 (pSer552) ?-Catenin in association with up-regulation of genes encoding the FGFR2IIIb ligands, Fgf7, Fgf10, and Fgf22. In response to Fgf10 over-expression, there was an increase in the number of pSer552-?-Catenin((positive)+ive) periportal cells as well as cells co-positive for A6 and hepatocyte marker, Hepatocyte Nuclear Factor-4? (HNF4?). A similar expansion of A6(+ive) cells was observed after Fgf10 over-expression with regular chow and after partial hepatectomy during ethanol toxicity. Inhibition of FGF signaling increased the periportal A6(+ive)HNF4?(+ive) cell population while reducing centrolobular A6(+ive) HNF4?(+ive) cells. AKT inhibition with Wortmannin attenuated FGF10-mediated A6(+ive)HNF4?(+ive) cell expansion. In vitro analyses using FGF10 treated HepG2 cells demonstrated AKT-mediated ?-Catenin activation but not enhanced cell migration. CONCLUSIONS:During acute DDC treatment, FGF signaling promotes the expansion of A6-expressing liver cells partly via AKT-dependent activation of ?-Catenin expansion of A6(+ive) periportal cells and possibly by reprogramming of centrolobular hepatocytes.
Project description:The liver has a large regenerative capacity. Hepatocytes can replicate and regenerate a diseased liver. However, as is the case in severe liver diseases, this replication may become insufficient or exhausted and hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) can be activated in an attempt to restore liver function. Due to their bi-potent differentiation capacity, these HPCs have great potential for regenerative approaches yet over-activation does pose potential health risks. Therefore the mechanisms leading to activation must be elucidated prior to safe implementation in the veterinary clinic. Wnt/β-catenin and Notch signalling have been implicated in the activation of HPCs in mouse models and in humans. Here we assessed the involvement in canine HPC activation. Gene-expression profiles were derived from laser microdissected HPC niches from lobular dissecting hepatitis (LDH) and normal liver tissue, with a focus on Wnt/β-catenin and Notch signalling. Immunohistochemical and immunofluorescent studies were combined to assess the role of the pathways in HPCs during LDH.Gene-expression confirmed higher expression of Wnt/β-catenin and Notch pathway components and target genes in activated HPC niches in diseased liver compared to quiescent HPC niches from normal liver. Immunofluorescence confirmed the activation of these pathways in the HPCs during disease. Immunohistochemistry showed proliferating HPCs during LDH, and double immunofluorescence showed downregulation of Wnt/β-catenin and Notch in differentiating HPCs. Vimentin, a mesenchymal marker, was expressed on a subset of undifferentiated HPCs.Together these studies clearly revealed that both Wnt/β-catenin and Notch signalling pathways are enhanced in undifferentiated, proliferating and potentially migrating HPCs during severe progressive canine liver disease (LDH).
Project description:Liver zonation characterizes the separation of metabolic pathways along the lobules and is required for optimal function. Wnt/?-catenin signaling controls metabolic zonation by activating genes in the perivenous hepatocytes, while suppressing genes in the periportal counterparts. We now demonstrate that glucagon opposes the actions of Wnt/?-catenin signaling on gene expression and metabolic zonation pattern. The effects were more pronounced in the periportal hepatocytes where 28% of all genes were activated by glucagon and inhibited by Wnt/?-catenin. The glucagon and Wnt/?-catenin receptors and their signaling pathways are uniformly distributed in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes and the expression is not regulated by the opposing signal. Collectively, our results show that glucagon controls gene expression and metabolic zonation in the liver through a counterplay with the Wnt/?-catenin signaling pathway.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the third leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Its pathogenesis is frequently linked to liver inflammation. Gain-of-function mutations in the gene encoding ?-catenin are frequent genetic modifications found in human HCCs. Thus, we investigated whether inflammation was a component of ?-catenin-induced tumorigenesis using genetically modified mouse models that recapitulated the stages of initiation and progression of this tumoral process. Oncogenic ?-catenin signaling was found to induce an inflammatory program in hepatocytes that involved direct transcriptional control by ?-catenin and activation of the NF-?B pathway. This led to a specific inflammatory response, the intensity of which determined the degree of tumor aggressiveness. The chemokine-like chemotactic factor leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin 2 (LECT2) and invariant NKT (iNKT) cells were identified as key interconnected effectors of liver ?-catenin-induced inflammation. In genetic deletion models lacking the gene encoding LECT2 or iNKT cells, hepatic ?-catenin signaling triggered the formation of highly malignant HCCs with lung metastasis. Thus, our results identify inflammation as a key player in ?-catenin-induced liver tumorigenesis. We provide strong evidence that, by activating pro- and antiinflammatory mediators, ?-catenin signaling produces an inflammatory microenvironment that has an impact on tumoral development. Our data are consistent with the fact that most ?-catenin-activated HCCs are of better prognosis.
Project description:Liver zonation characterizes the separation of metabolic pathways along the lobules and is required for optimal function. Wnt/beta-catenin signaling controls metabolic zonation by activating genes in the perivenous hepatocytes, while suppressing genes in the periportal counterparts. We now demonstrate that glucagon opposes the actions of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling on gene expression and metabolic zonation pattern. The effects were more pronounced in the periportal hepatocytes where 28% of all genes were activated by glucagon and inhibited by Wnt/beta-catenin. The glucagon and Wnt/beta-catenin receptors and their signaling pathways are uniformly distributed in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes and the expression is not regulated by the opposing signal. Collectively, our results show that glucagon controls gene expression and metabolic zonation in the liver through a counter play with the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. Overall design: Gene expression profiling of Gcg-/- and wild type mice in liver
Project description:Liver zonation characterizes the separation of metabolic pathways along the lobules and is required for optimal function. Wnt/beta-catenin signaling controls metabolic zonation by activating genes in the perivenous hepatocytes, while suppressing genes in the periportal counterparts. We now demonstrate that glucagon opposes the actions of Wnt/beta-catenin signaling on gene expression and metabolic zonation pattern. The effects were more pronounced in the periportal hepatocytes where 28% of all genes were activated by glucagon and inhibited by Wnt/beta-catenin. The glucagon and Wnt/beta-catenin receptors and their signaling pathways are uniformly distributed in periportal and perivenous hepatocytes and the expression is not regulated by the opposing signal. Collectively, our results show that glucagon controls gene expression and metabolic zonation in the liver through a counter play with the Wnt/beta-catenin signaling pathway. Overall design: Gene expression profiling of Gcg-/- and wild type mice in liver with and without glucagon infusion.
Project description:Hedgehog (Hh) pathway activation promotes many processes that occur during fibrogenic liver repair. Whether the Hh pathway modulates the outcomes of virally mediated liver injury has never been examined. Gene-profiling studies of human hepatocellular carcinomas (HCCs) demonstrate Hh pathway activation in HCCs related to chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV). Because most HCCs develop in cirrhotic livers, we hypothesized that Hh pathway activation occurs during fibrogenic repair of liver damage due to chronic viral hepatitis, and that Hh-responsive cells mediate disease progression and hepatocarciongenesis in chronic viral hepatitis. Immunohistochemistry and qRT-PCR analysis were used to analyze Hh pathway activation and identify Hh-responsive cell types in liver biopsies from 45 patients with chronic HBV or HCV. Hh signaling was then manipulated in cultured liver cells to directly assess the impact of Hh activity in relevant cell types. We found increased hepatic expression of Hh ligands in all patients with chronic viral hepatitis, and demonstrated that infection with HCV stimulated cultured hepatocytes to produce Hh ligands. The major cell populations that expanded during cirrhosis and HCC (ie, liver myofibroblasts, activated endothelial cells, and progenitors expressing markers of tumor stem/initiating cells) were Hh responsive, and higher levels of Hh pathway activity associated with cirrhosis and HCC. Inhibiting pathway activity in Hh-responsive target cells reduced fibrogenesis, angiogenesis, and growth. In conclusion, HBV/HCV infection increases hepatocyte production of Hh ligands and expands the types of Hh-responsive cells that promote liver fibrosis and cancer.
Project description:Hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) are small cells with a relative large oval nucleus and a scanty cytoplasm situated in the canals of Hering that express markers of (immature) hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. HPCs are present in large numbers in alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), one of the leading causes of chronic liver disease. To date, the mechanisms responsible for proliferation and differentiation of human HPCs are still poorly understood and the role of HPCs in ASH development is unknown. In this study, we aimed to characterise human HPCs and their interactions with other cells through comparison, on both protein and RNA level, of HPC-enriched cell populations from adult human liver tissue using different isolation methods. Fresh human liver tissue was collected from ASH explant livers and HPC-enriched cell populations were obtained via four different isolation methods: side population (SP), epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and trophoblast antigen 2 (TROP-2) membrane marker isolation and laser capture microdissection. Gene expression profiles of fluorescent-activated cell-sorted HPCs, whole liver extracts and laser microdissected HPC niches were determined by RNA-sequencing. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the isolated populations indicated the enrichment of HPCs in the SP, EpCAM+ and TROP-2+ cell populations. Pathway analysis of the transcription profiles of human HPCs showed an enrichment and activation of known HPC pathways like Wnt/?-catenin, TWEAK and HGF. Integration of the HPC niche profile suggests autocrine signalling by HPCs (TNF?, PDGFB and VEGFA) as well as paracrine signalling from the surrounding niche cells including MIF and IGF-1. In addition, we identified IL-17?A signalling as a potentially novel pathway in HPC biology. In conclusion, we provide the first RNA-seq-based, comparative transcriptome analysis of isolated human HPCs from ASH patients and revealed active signalling between HPCs and their surrounding niche cells in ASH livers and suggest that HPCs can actively contribute to liver inflammation.
Project description:Although inappropriate activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway has been implicated in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the role of this signaling in liver carcinogenesis remains unclear. To investigate this issue, we constructed a mutant mouse strain, Apc(lox/lox), in which exon 14 of the tumor-suppressor gene adenomatous polyposis coli (Apc) is flanked by loxP sequences. i.v. injection of adenovirus encoding Cre recombinase (AdCre) at high multiplicity [10(9) plaque-forming units (pfu) per mouse] inactivated the Apc gene in the liver and resulted in marked hepatomegaly, hepatocyte hyperplasia, and rapid mortality. beta-Catenin signaling activation was demonstrated by nuclear and cytoplasmic accumulation of beta-catenin in the hepatocytes and by the induction of beta-catenin target genes (glutamine synthetase, glutamate transporter 1, ornithine aminotransferase, and leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin 2) in the liver. To test a long-term oncogenic effect, we inoculated mice with lower doses of AdCre (0.5 x 10(9) pfu per mouse), compatible with both survival and persistence of beta-catenin-activated cells. In these conditions, 67% of mice developed HCC. beta-Catenin signaling was strongly activated in these Apc-inactivated HCCs. The HCCs were well, moderately, or poorly differentiated. Indeed, their histological and molecular features mimicked human HCC. Thus, deletion of Apc in the liver provides a valuable model of human HCC, and, in this model, activation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway by invalidation of Apc is required for liver tumorigenesis.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>In alcoholic hepatitis (AH), development of targeted therapies is crucial and requires improved knowledge of cellular and molecular drivers in liver dysfunction. The unique opportunity of using explanted livers from patients with AH having undergone salvage liver transplantation allowed to perform more in-depth molecular translational studies.<h4>Design</h4>We studied liver explants from patients with AH submitted to salvage transplantation (n=16), from patients with alcoholic cirrhosis without AH (n=12) and fragments of normal livers (n=16). Hepatic cytokine content was quantified. Hepatocyte function and proliferation and the presence of hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) were evaluated by immunohistochemistry, western blot or quantitative PCR. Mitochondrial morphology was evaluated by electron microscopy.<h4>Results</h4>Livers from patients with AH showed decreased cytokine levels involved in liver regeneration (tumour necrosis factor ? and interleukin-6), as well as a virtual absence of markers of hepatocyte proliferation compared with alcoholic cirrhosis and normal livers. Electron microscopy revealed obvious mitochondrial abnormalities in AH hepatocytes. Importantly, livers from patients with AH showed substantial accumulation of HPCs that, unexpectedly, differentiate only into biliary cells. AH livers predominantly express laminin (extracellular matrix protein favouring cholangiocyte differentiation); consequently, HPC expansion is inefficient at yielding mature hepatocytes.<h4>Conclusions</h4>AH not responding to medical therapy is associated with lack of expression of cytokines involved in liver regeneration and profound mitochondrial damage along with lack of proliferative hepatocytes. Expansion of HPCs is inefficient to yield mature hepatocytes. Manoeuvres aimed at promoting differentiation of HPCs into mature hepatocytes should be tested in AH.