[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: & Aims: Platelet-derived growth factor β (PDGFB) is a mitogen for hepatic stellate cells (HSC). We studied the cellular sources of PDGFB and the effects of a high-affinity monoclonal antibody against PDGFB (MOR8457) in mouse models of biliary fibrosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Failure of fibrotic liver to regenerate after resection limits therapeutic options and increases demand for liver transplantation, representing a significant clinical problem. The mechanism underlying regenerative failure in fibrosis is poorly understood. Seventy percent partial hepatectomy (PHx) was performed in C57Bl/6 mice with or without carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver fibrosis. Liver function and regeneration was monitored at 1 to 14 days thereafter by assessing liver mass, alanine aminotransferase (ALT), mRNA expression, and histology. Progenitor (oval) cell mitogen tumor necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) and TWEAK-neutralizing antibody were used to manipulate progenitor cell proliferation in vivo. In fibrotic liver, hepatocytes failed to replicate efficiently after PHx. Fibrotic livers showed late (day 5) peak of serum ALT (3542 ± 355I U/L compared to 93 ± 65 IU/L in nonfibrotic), which coincided with progenitor cell expansion, increase in profibrogenic gene expression and de novo collagen deposition. In fibrotic mice, inhibition of progenitor activation using TWEAK-neutralizing antibody after PHx resulted in strongly down-regulated profibrogenic mRNA, reduced serum ALT levels and improved regeneration. Failure of hepatocyte-mediated regeneration in fibrotic liver triggers activation of the progenitor (oval) cell compartment and a severe fibrogenic response. Inhibition of progenitor cell proliferation using anti-TWEAK antibody prevents fibrogenic response and augments fibrotic liver regeneration. Targeting the fibrogenic progenitor response represents a promising strategy to improve hepatectomy outcomes in patients with liver fibrosis.
American Journal Of Pathology 05/2013; · 4.60 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Biomarkers are becoming increasingly important in the clinical management of complex diseases, yet our ability to discover new biomarkers remains limited by our dependence on endogenous molecules. Here we describe the development of exogenously administered 'synthetic biomarkers' composed of mass-encoded peptides conjugated to nanoparticles that leverage intrinsic features of human disease and physiology for noninvasive urinary monitoring. These protease-sensitive agents perform three functions in vivo: they target sites of disease, sample dysregulated protease activities and emit mass-encoded reporters into host urine for multiplexed detection by mass spectrometry. Using mouse models of liver fibrosis and cancer, we show that these agents can noninvasively monitor liver fibrosis and resolution without the need for invasive core biopsies and substantially improve early detection of cancer compared with current clinically used blood biomarkers. This approach of engineering synthetic biomarkers for multiplexed urinary monitoring should be broadly amenable to additional pathophysiological processes and point-of-care diagnostics.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aim: While low grade inflammation persists in both visceral fat and hepatic tissue in obesity, these changes often result in progressive disease and fibrosis only in the liver and not in adipose tissue. We hypothesized that a tissue-specific difference in obesity-induced inflammatory cell infiltrate may be responsible for such organ difference in susceptibility to fibrosis. Methods: Mice were fed either standard chow or a high fat diet over 19 weeks. Hepatic steatosis was assessed by histology and quantified via magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Immunohistochemistry staining for macrophage subsets and quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)- and fibrosis-related gene expression was performed in paired livers and visceral (epididymal) fat pads at early (9 weeks) and advanced (19 weeks) stages of progressive diet-induced obesity. Results: Up to 19 weeks of high fat feeding led to the development of obesity and hepatic steatosis, as well as increased gene expression of Mmp12, Mmp13 and Timp1 in predominantly adipose tissue, and to a lesser extent of liver tissue. In contrast to visceral fat, cell counts for macrophages as well as profibrogenic gene signaling in liver tissue during development of diet-induced obesity remained largely unchanged. Conclusions: Development of diet-induced obesity in the mouse increased inflammatory macrophages counts in adipose tissue rather than the liver. This was associated with greater increases in MMP expression in adipose tissue compared with liver. We propose that attenuated hepatic MMP expression in livers and adipose tissue of obese mice shifts the balance of fibrogenesis/fibrolysis and predispose the liver to development of fibrosis.
Hepatology Research 01/2012; 42(6):601-10. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ubiquitous cross-linking enzyme tissue transglutaminase (TG2) has been implicated in irreversible collagen stabilization in liver fibrosis, although functional evidence is lacking. We studied the contribution of TG2 to hepatic fibrotic matrix stability, as well as liver fibrosis progression and regression in TG2-deficient mice.
Advanced liver fibrosis was induced by carbon tetrachloride or thioacetamide in TG2(-/-) mice and their wild-type littermates to study fibrosis progression and its spontaneous regression for up to 36 weeks. Pattern and extent of fibrosis were analyzed by histology and hepatic hydroxyproline quantification. Dynamic changes in hepatic matrix cross-linking were assessed by stepwise collagen extraction. Expression of 7 TGs and fibrosis-related genes was determined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Transglutaminase activity was increased in fibrosis, and the level of TG2 messenger RNA correlated with the expression of fibrosis-related genes. Biochemical analysis revealed progressive collagen stabilization, with an up to 6-fold increase in the highly cross-linked, pepsin-insoluble fraction (26%). In TG2(-/-) mice, hepatic TG activity was significantly decreased, but chronic administration of carbon tetrachloride or thioacetamide led to a comparable extent and pattern of liver fibrosis, as in wild-type mice. In TG2(-/-) mice, the composition of hepatic collagen fractions and levels of fibrosis-related transcripts were unchanged, and fibrosis reversal was not facilitated.
TG2 and TG activity are up-regulated during hepatic fibrosis progression, but do not contribute to fibrogenesis or stabilization of the collagen matrix. TG2 deletion does not promote regression of liver fibrosis. TG2-independent collagen cross-linking is a remarkable feature of progressing hepatic fibrosis and represents an important therapeutic target for liver fibrosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Studies have suggested the reversibility of liver fibrosis, but the mechanisms of fibrosis reversal are poorly understood. We investigated the possible functional link between apoptosis, macrophages, and matrix turnover in rat liver during reversal of fibrosis secondary to bile duct ligation (BDL). Biliary fibrosis was induced by BDL for 4 wk. After Roux-en-Y (RY)-bilio-jejunal-anastomosis, resolution of fibrosis was monitored for up to 12 wk by hepatic collagen content, matrix metalloproteinase (MMP) expression and activities, and fibrosis-related gene expression. MMP expression and activities were studied in macrophages after engulfment of apoptotic cholangiocytes in vitro. Hepatic collagen decreased to near normal at 12 wk after RY-anastomosis. During reversal, profibrogenic mRNA declined, whereas expression of several profibrolytic MMPs increased. Fibrotic septa showed fragmentation at week 4 and disappeared at week 12. Peak histological remodeling at week 4 was characterized by massive apoptosis of cytokeratin 19+ cholangiocytes, >90% in colocalization with CD68+ macrophages, and a 2- to 7.5-fold increase in matrix-degrading activities. In vitro, phagocytosis of apoptotic cholangiocytes induced matrix-degrading activities and MMP-3, -8, and -9 in rat peritoneal macrophages. We concluded that reconstruction of bile flow after BDL leads to an orchestrated fibrolytic program that results in near complete reversal of advanced fibrosis. The peak of connective tissue remodeling and fibrolytic activity is associated with massive apoptosis of cholangiocytes and their phagocytic clearance by macrophages in vivo. Macrophages upregulate MMPs and become fibrolytic effector cells upon apoptotic cholangiocyte engulfment in vitro, suggesting that phagocytosis-associated MMP induction in macrophages significantly contributes to biliary fibrosis reversal.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Liver fibrosis is characterized by excessive synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins, which prevails over their enzymatic degradation, primarily by matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs). The effect of pharmacological MMP inhibition on fibrogenesis, however, is largely unexplored. Inflammation is considered a prerequisite and important co-contributor to fibrosis and is, in part, mediated by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha-converting enzyme (TACE). We hypothesized that treatment with a broad-spectrum MMP and TACE-inhibitor (Marimastat) would ameliorate injury and inflammation, leading to decreased fibrogenesis during repeated hepatotoxin-induced liver injury.
Liver fibrosis was induced in mice by repeated carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) administration, during which the mice received either Marimastat or vehicle twice daily. A single dose of CCl4 was administered to investigate acute liver injury in mice pretreated with Marimastat, mice deficient in Mmp9, or mice deficient in both TNF-alpha receptors. Liver injury was quantified by alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels and confirmed by histology. Hepatic collagen was determined as hydroxyproline, and expression of fibrogenesis and fibrolysis-related transcripts was determined by quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction. Marimastat-treated animals demonstrated significantly attenuated liver injury and inflammation but a 25% increase in collagen deposition. Transcripts related to fibrogenesis were significantly less upregulated compared to vehicle-treated animals, while MMP expression and activity analysis revealed efficient pharmacologic MMP-inhibition and decreased fibrolysis following Marimastat treatment. Marimastat pre-treatment significantly attenuated liver injury following acute CCl4-administration, whereas Mmp9 deficient animals demonstrated no protection. Mice deficient in both TNF-alpha receptors exhibited an 80% reduction of serum ALT, confirming the hepatoprotective effects of Marimastat via the TNF-signaling pathway.
Inhibition of MMP and TACE activity with Marimastat during chronic CCl4 administration counterbalanced any beneficial anti-inflammatory effect, resulting in a positive balance of collagen deposition. Since effective inhibition of MMPs accelerates fibrosis progression, MMP inhibitors should be used with caution in patients with chronic liver diseases.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(6):e11256. · 3.73 Impact Factor