Ethanol induces transforming growth factor-alpha expression in hepatocytes, leading to stimulation of collagen synthesis by hepatic stellate cells.

Fourth Department of Internal Medicine, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.
Alcoholism Clinical and Experimental Research (Impact Factor: 3.42). 09/2003; 27(8 Suppl):58S-63S. DOI: 10.1097/01.ALC.0000078614.44983.97
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Liver fibrosis often develops in alcoholic liver diseases without accompanying inflammation; however, the underlying mechanism is unclear. Using ethanol-exposed human HepG2 hepatoblastoma cells as a model for alcoholic liver diseases, we previously found that ethanol exposure causes HepG2 cells to secrete an approximately 6,000 Da nonheparin-binding polypeptide that stimulates collagen synthesis in human IMR-90 fibroblasts. The aim of the current study was to characterize and identify this factor.
Concentration of type I procollagen peptide and transforming growth factor (TGF)-alpha was assessed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. TGF-alpha protein expression was examined by Western blot. Type I collagen messenger RNA expression in rat hepatic stellate cells was assessed by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction.
The collagen-stimulating activity in conditioned media from ethanol-exposed HepG2 cells to stimulate type I procollagen peptide synthesis of IMR-90 cells was specifically inhibited by addition of anti-TGF-alpha antibodies. Western blot analysis showed increased TGF-alpha protein expression in ethanol-treated HepG2 cells. TGF-alpha in conditioned medium from ethanol-exposed HepG2 cells stimulated type-I collagen messenger RNA expression in rat hepatic stellate cells.
These results suggest that TGF-alpha derived from ethanol-exposed hepatocytes may contribute to the development of hepatic fibrosis in alcoholic liver diseases.

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