Photoacoustic Imaging for Assessing Tissue Oxygenation Changes in Rat Hepatic Fibrosis.
ABSTRACT: Chronic liver inflammation progressively evokes fibrosis and cirrhosis resulting in compromised liver function, and often leading to cancer. Early diagnosis and staging of fibrosis is crucial because the five-year survival rate of early-stage liver cancer is high. This study investigates the progression of hepatic fibrosis induced in rats following ingestion of diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Changes in oxygen saturation and hemoglobin concentration resulting from chronic inflammation were assayed longitudinally during DEN ingestion by photoacoustic imaging (PAI). Accompanying liver tissue changes were monitored simultaneously by B-mode sonographic imaging. Oxygen saturation and hemoglobin levels in the liver increased over 5 weeks and peaked at 10 weeks before decreasing at 13 weeks of DEN ingestion. The oxygenation changes were accompanied by an increase in hepatic echogenicity and coarseness in the ultrasound image. Histology at 13 weeks confirmed the development of severe fibrosis and cirrhosis. The observed increase in PA signal representing enhanced blood oxygenation is likely an inflammatory physiological response to the dietary DEN insult that increases blood flow by the development of neovasculature to supply oxygen to a fibrotic liver during the progression of hepatic fibrosis. Assessment of oxygenation by PAI may play an important role in the future assessment of hepatic fibrosis.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide and the majority of HCC patients occur with a background of hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis. We have previously reported the hepatoprotective effects of steamed and freeze-dried mature silkworm larval powder (SMSP) in a chronic ethanol-treated rat model. Here, we assessed the anti-fibrotic and anti-carcinogenic effects of SMSP on diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-treated rats. Wistar rats were intraperitoneally injected with DEN once a week for 12 or 16 weeks with or without SMSP administration (0.1 and 1 g/kg). SMSP administration significantly attenuated tumor foci formation and proliferation in the livers of the rats treated with DEN for 16 weeks. SMSP administration also inhibited hepatic fibrosis by decreasing the levels of collagen fiber and the expression of pro-collagen I and alpha-smooth muscle actin (?-SMA). Moreover, SMSP supplementation improved the major parameters of fibrosis such as transforming growth factor-? (TGF-?), connective tissue growth factor (CTGF), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-?), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), and collagen type I (Col1A1) in the livers from the rats treated with DEN for 16 weeks. As s possible mechanisms, we investigated the effects of SMSP on the TGF-? and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3)-mediated signaling cascades, which are known to promote hepatic fibrosis. We found that SMSP treatment inhibited the activation of TGF-? and the phosphorylation of STAT3 pathway in DEN-treated rats. Moreover, SMSP administration suppressed the expressions of the target genes of TGF-? and STAT3 induced by DEN treatment. Our findings provide experimental evidences that SMSP administration has inhibitory effects of hepatic fibrosis and HCC induced by DEN in vivo and could be a promising strategy for the prevention or treatment of hepatic fibrosis and hepatocellular carcinogenesis.
Project description:Hepatic fibrosis and cirrhosis are a growing global health problem with increasing mortality rates. Early diagnosis and staging of hepatic fibrosis represent a major challenge. Currently liver biopsy is the gold standard for fibrosis assessment; however, biopsy requires an invasive procedure and is prone to sampling error and reader variability. In the current study we investigate using quantitative analysis of computer-extracted features of B-mode ultrasound as a non-invasive tool to characterize hepatic fibrosis. Twenty-two rats were administered diethylnitrosamine (DEN) orally for 12 weeks to induce hepatic fibrosis. Four control rats did not receive DEN. B-mode ultrasound scans sampling throughout the liver were acquired at baseline, 10, and 13 weeks. Computer extracted quantitative parameters representing brightness (echointensity, hepatorenal index) and variance (heterogeneity, anisotropy) of the liver were studied. DEN rats showed an increase in echointensity from 37.1 ± SD 7.8 to 53.5 ± 5.7 (10 w) to 57.5 ± 6.1 (13 w), while the control group remained unchanged at an average of 34.5 ± 4.5. The three other features studied increased similarly over time in the DEN group. Histologic analysis showed METAVIR fibrosis grades of F2-F4 in DEN rats and F0-F1 in controls. Increasing imaging parameters correlated with increasing METAVIR grades, and anisotropy showed the strongest correlation (ρ = 0.58). Sonographic parameters combined using multiparametric logistic regression were able to differentiate between clinically significant and insignificant fibrosis. Quantitative B-mode ultrasound imaging can be implemented in clinical settings as an accurate non-invasive tool for fibrosis assessment.
Project description:Why only a subpopulation (about 15%) of humans develops liver cirrhosis due to alcohol is a critical as yet unanswered question. Liver-specific depletion of augmenter of liver regeneration (ALR) protein in mice causes robust steatosis and hepatocyte apoptosis by 2 weeks; these pathologies regress subsequently with return of ALR expression even at lower than control levels, but the mice develop modest steatohepatitis by 8 weeks. We aimed to investigate whether chronic alcohol ingestion promotes excessive hepatic fibrosis in these ALR-deficient mice. Liver-specific ALR-deficient and wild type (WT) female mice (8-10 weeks old) were placed on 4% alcohol-supplemented or isocaloric diet for 4 weeks. Liver sections were examined for histopathology, and parameters of steatosis and fibrosis were quantified. The mRNA expression of alcohol dehydrogenase-1, acetaldehyde dehydrogenase-1 and cytochrome P450-2E1 increased in WT mice but decreased in ALR-deficient mice upon alcohol ingestion. While alcohol induced steatosis and mild inflammation in WT mice, ALR-deficient mice showed minimal steatosis, strong hepatocellular injury and inflammation, prominent ductular proliferation, and robust fibrosis. Compared to the WT mice, alcohol feeding of ALR-deficient mice resulted in significantly greater increase in hepatic TNF? and TGF?, and oxidative stress; there was also hepatic iron accumulation, robust lipid peroxidation and mitochondrial DNA damage. Importantly, similar to ALR-deficient mice, lower hepatic ALR levels in human alcoholic liver cirrhosis were associated with increased iron content, reduced expression of alcohol dehydrogenase and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase, and elevated fibrogenic markers. We conclude that ALR deficiency or anomaly can play a critical role in alcohol-induced hepatic fibrosis/cirrhosis, mechanisms of which may involve dysregulation of alcohol metabolism and iron homeostasis, mitochondrial damage and oxidative injury.
Project description:Consumption of alcohol is closely related to liver disease, such as hepatic fibrosis or even hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). However, epidemiological and experimental studies indicated that consumption of Maotai, one of the famous liquors in China, exhibits no significant correlation with hepatic fibrosis or cirrhosis as other beverage sources do. This study detected the relationship of Maotai consumption and HCC development in a diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-initiated HCC animal model. DEN was given to mice at a dose of 100 mg/kg, ip, and 50 mg/kg, ip in the following week. Mice were simultaneously given Maotai or an equal amount of ethanol (53%, 5 ml/kg/day, 5 days/week for up to 35 weeks). At 3-week and 35- week of the experiment, serum and livers were collected for biochemical and histopathological examination of liver injury and incidence of HCC. Real-time RT-PCR, immunohistochemistry and Western blotting were used to examine the expression of metallothionein-1/2 (MT-1/2), NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), glutamate-cysteine ligase catalytic subunit (GCLC) and modified subunit (GCLM). We identified tissue damage and dysfunction of liver in ethanol + DEN-treated mice, whereas the extent of injury was reduced in Maotai+ DEN -treated mice. Significant Glypican-3(GPC3) expression and precancerous injury or HCC were seen in approximately 50% of mice with ethanol+ DEN, but barely be seen in Maotai + DEN-treated mice. A higher expression of MT-1/2, Nrf2 and GCLC could be seen in Maotai + DEN-treated mice. Thus, Maotai liquor ameliorates the formation of DEN-induced HCC in mice, and the protection mechanism is possibly related with the activation of anti-oxidation factors, such as MTs, Nrf2 and GCLC.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Liver fibrosis is the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins, including collagen, which occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases. Advanced liver fibrosis results in cirrhosis, liver failure, and portal hypertension. Activated hepatic perivascular stellate cells, portal fibroblasts, and myofibroblasts of bone marrow origin have been identified as major collagen-producing cells in the injured liver. These cells are activated by fibrogenic cytokines, such as TGF-?1. The inhibition of TGF-?1 function or synthesis is a major target for the development of antifibrotic therapies. Our previous study showed that the water and ethanol extracts of Graptopetalum paraguayense (GP), a Chinese herbal medicine, can prevent dimethylnitrosamine (DMN)-induced hepatic inflammation and fibrosis in rats. METHODS:We used rat hepatic stellate HSC-T6 cells and a diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced rat liver injury model to test the potential mechanism of GP extracts and its fraction, HH-F3. RESULTS:We demonstrated that GP extracts and HH-F3 downregulated the expression levels of extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins and inhibited the proliferation and migration via suppression of the TGF-?1 pathway in rat hepatic stellate HSC-T6 cells. Moreover, the HH-F3 fraction decreased hepatic collagen content and reduced plasma AST, ALT, and ?-GT activities in a DEN-induced rat liver injury model, suggesting that GP/HH-F3 has hepatoprotective effects against DEN-induced liver fibrosis. CONCLUSION:These findings indicate that GP/HH-F3 may be a potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of liver fibrosis. The inhibition of TGF-?-mediated fibrogenesis may be a central mechanism by which GP/HH-F3 protects the liver from injury.
Project description:Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex process that includes pronounced necroinflammation, unregulated hepatocyte damage, subsequent extensive fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. GPR110 was an adhesion G protein-coupled receptor. Analysis of the expression pattern of Gpr110 in mice displayed that Gpr110 was expressed highly in liver, implicating the tissue compartments where Gpr110 could execute its functions, the role of Gpr110 in the physiological and pathological state of liver remains unclear. Based on a Gpr110 knockout mouse model, we evaluated the role of Gpr110 in hepatocarcinogenesis by using a carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver injury and fibrosis model, as well as diethylnitrosamine (DEN) plus CCl4-induced liver cancer model. In this study, we found subdued chronic liver injury, reduced compensatory proliferation, lower liver fibrosis, but enhanced inflammation occurred in Gpr110-/- mice during CCl4 challenge. In addition, Gpr110-/- mice were resistant to liver tumorigenesis induced by DEN plus CCl4 injection. Molecular mechanisms underlying these differences correlated with augmented activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway, which exerted hepatoprotective effects during liver damage, fibrosis, and oncogenesis in Gpr110-/- mice. Furthermore, pharmacological inhibition of the activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway enhanced hepatic fibrosis and promoted DEN plus CCl4-induced carcinogenesis in Gpr110-/- mice. In summary, absence of Gpr110 decelerates liver fibrosis/cirrhosis progressing into tumorigenesis, due to strengthening activation of the IL-6/STAT3 pathway, leading to a weaker liver injury and fibrosis microenvironment. It is indicated that targeting Gpr110 and activating the IL-6/STAT3 pathway may be considered to be preventive methods for some cirrhosis transition.
Project description:Chronic ethanol consumption increases the risk of hepatic cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). While sex differences exist in susceptibility to ethanol-induced liver damage/HCC development, little is known about the effects of ethanol on tumor progression.Neonatal male and female mice were initiated with a single dose of diethylnitrosamine (DEN). Sixteen or 40 weeks later, animals were placed on a 10/20% (v/v) ethanol-drinking water (EtOH-DW; alternate days) regime for 8 weeks. At study end, liver tissue and serum were analyzed for liver pathology/function and cytokine expression.DEN reproducibly induced hepatic foci/tumors in male and female mice. Ethanol diminished hepatic function and increased liver damage, but ethanol alone did not induce hepatic foci/HCC formation. In DEN-initiated EtOH-DW animals, ethanol significantly increased tumor incidence and burden, but only in male mice. Male and female mice (±DEN) demonstrated comparable blood alcohol content at necropsy, yet increased hepatic damage and diminished hepatic function/antioxidant capacity were significantly greater in males. Analysis of liver mRNA for Th1, Th2, or T-regulatory factors demonstrated significantly elevated SMAD3 in male compared to female mice in response to EtOH, DEN initiation, and DEN + EtOH-DW.These data demonstrate male mice are more susceptible to HCC incidence and progression in the setting of chronic ethanol feeding than females. Differences in markers of hepatic immune response in male mice suggest that increased TGF?-SMAD3 signaling may enhance promotion in this model of HCC progression, effects modulated by chronic ethanol feeding.
Project description:Hepatocarcinogenesis is a complex process involving chronic liver injury, inflammation, unregulated wound healing, subsequent fibrosis and carcinogenesis. To decipher the molecular mechanism underlying transition from chronic liver injury to dysplasia, we investigated the oncogenic role of gankyrin (PSMD10 or p28GANK) during malignant transformation in a transgenic mouse model. Here, we find that gankyrin increased in patients with cirrhosis. In addition to more severe liver fibrosis and tumorigenesis after DEN plus CCl4 treatment, hepatocyte-specific gankyrin-overexpressing mice (gankyrinhep) exhibited malignant transformation from liver fibrosis to tumors even under single CCl4 administration, whereas wild-type mice merely experienced fibrosis. Consistently, enhanced hepatic injury, severe inflammation and strengthened compensatory proliferation occurred in gankyrinhep) mice during CCl4 performance. This correlated with augmented expressions of cell cycle-related genes and abnormal activation of Rac1/c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). Pharmacological inhibition of the Rac1/JNK pathway attenuated hepatic fibrosis and prevented CCl4-induced carcinogenesis in gankyrinhep mice. Together, these findings suggest that gankyrin promotes liver fibrosis/cirrhosis progression into hepatocarcinoma relying on a persistent liver injury and inflammatory microenvironment. Blockade of Rac1/JNK activation impeded gankyrin-mediated hepatocytic malignant transformation, indicating the combined inhibition of gankyrin and Rac1/JNK as a potential prevention mechanism for cirrhosis transition.
Project description:Rapid induction of ?-PDGF receptor (?-PDGFR) is a core feature of hepatic stellate cell activation, but its cellular impact in vivo is not well characterized. We explored the contribution of ?-PDGFR-mediated pathway activation to hepatic stellate cell responses in liver injury, fibrogenesis, and carcinogenesis in vivo using genetic models with divergent ?-PDGFR activity, and assessed its prognostic implications in human cirrhosis.The impact of either loss or constitutive activation of ?-PDGFR in stellate cells on fibrosis was assessed following carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) or bile duct ligation. Hepatocarcinogenesis in fibrotic liver was tracked after a single dose of diethylnitrosamine (DEN) followed by repeated injections of CCl4. Genome-wide expression profiling was performed from isolated stellate cells that expressed or lacked ?-PDGFR to determine deregulated pathways and evaluate their association with prognostic gene signatures in human cirrhosis.Depletion of ?-PDGFR in hepatic stellate cells decreased injury and fibrosis in vivo, while its auto-activation accelerated fibrosis. However, there was no difference in development of DEN-induced pre-neoplastic foci. Genomic profiling revealed ERK, AKT, and NF-?B pathways and a subset of a previously identified 186-gene prognostic signature in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-related cirrhosis as downstream of ?-PDGFR in stellate cells. In the human cohort, the ?-PDGFR signature was not associated with HCC development, but was significantly associated with a poorer outcome in HCV cirrhosis.?-PDGFR is a key mediator of hepatic injury and fibrogenesis in vivo and contributes to the poor prognosis of human cirrhosis, but not by increasing HCC development.
Project description:An orally bioavailable small molecule inhibitor of plasminogen activator inhibitor?1 (PAI?1) is currently being clinically assessed as a novel antithrombotic agent. Although PAI?1 is known to serve a key role in the pathogenesis of metabolic syndrome (MetS) including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), the pharmacological action of an oral PAI?1 inhibitor against the development of MetS?related liver fibrosis remains unclear. The current study was designed to explicate the effect of TM5275, an oral PAI?1 inhibitor, on MetS?related hepatic fibrogenesis. The in vivo antifibrotic effect of orally administered TM5275 was investigated in two different rat MetS models. Fischer 344 rats received a choline?deficient L?amino?acid?defined diet for 12 weeks to induce steatohepatitis with development of severe hepatic fibrosis. Otsuka Long?Evans Tokushima Fatty rats, used to model congenital diabetes, underwent intraperitoneal injection of porcine serum for 6 weeks to induce hepatic fibrosis under diabetic conditions. In each experimental model, TM5275 markedly ameliorated the development of hepatic fibrosis and suppressed the proliferation of activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). Additionally, the hepatic production of tumor growth factor (TGF)??1 and total collagen was suppressed. In vitro assays revealed that TGF??1 stimulated the upregulation of Serpine1 mRNA expression, which was inhibited by TM5275 treatment in cultured HSC?T6 cells, a rat HSC cell line. Furthermore, TM5275 substantially attenuated the TGF??1?stimulated proliferative and fibrogenic activity of HSCs by inhibiting AKT phosphorylation. Collectively, TM5275 demonstrated an antifibrotic effect on liver fibrosis in different rat MetS models, suppressing TGF??1?induced HSC proliferation and collagen synthesis. Thus, PAI?1 inhibitors may serve as effective future therapeutic agents against NASH?based hepatic fibrosis.