Morphological and Functional Features of Hepatic Cyst Epithelium in Autosomal Dominant Polycystic Kidney Disease

Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Rome Sapienza, via R. Rossellini 51, 00137 Rome, Italy. domenico.alvaro@uniroma1
American Journal Of Pathology (Impact Factor: 4.59). 02/2008; 172(2):321-32. DOI: 10.2353/ajpath.2008.070293
Source: PubMed


We evaluated the morphological and functional features of hepatic cyst epithelium in adult autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). In six ADPKD patients, we investigated the morphology of cyst epithelium apical surface by scanning electron microscopy and the expression of estrogen receptors (ERs), insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), IGF1 receptors (IGF1-R), growth hormone receptor, the proliferation marker proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and pAKT by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. Proliferation of liver cyst-derived epithelial cells was evaluated by both MTS proliferation assay and [(3)H]thymidine incorporation into DNA. The hepatic cyst epithelium displayed heterogeneous features, being normal in small cysts (<1 cm), characterized by rare or shortened cilia in 1- to 3-cm cysts, and exhibiting the absence of both primary cilia and microvilli in large cysts (>3 cm). Cyst epithelium showed marked immunohistochemical expression of ER, growth hormone receptor, IGF1, IGF1-R, proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and pAKT. IGF1 was 10-fold more enriched in the hepatic cyst fluid than in serum. Serum-deprived liver cyst-derived epithelial cells proliferated when exposed to 17beta-estradiol and IGF1 and when exposed to human cyst fluid. ER or IGF1-R antagonists inhibited the proliferative effect of serum readmission, cyst fluid, 17beta-estradiol, and IGF1. Our findings could explain the role of estrogens in accelerating the progression of ADPKD and may suggest a potential benefit of therapeutic strategies based on estrogen antagonism.

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    • "Cyst fluid contains serum proteins but also cytokines and growth factors which contribute to cyst formation [75,76]. Expression of estrogen hormone receptors in cyst epithelium may trigger growth advantages [77]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Polycystic liver disease (PLD) is the result of embryonic ductal plate malformation of the intrahepatic biliary tree. The phenotype consists of numerous cysts spread throughout the liver parenchyma. Cystic bile duct malformations originating from the peripheral biliary tree are called Von Meyenburg complexes (VMC). In these patients embryonic remnants develop into small hepatic cysts and usually remain silent during life. Symptomatic PLD occurs mainly in the context of isolated polycystic liver disease (PCLD) and autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). In advanced stages, PCLD and ADPKD patients have massively enlarged livers which cause a spectrum of clinical features and complications. Major complaints include abdominal pain, abdominal distension and atypical symptoms because of voluminous cysts resulting in compression of adjacent tissue or failure of the affected organ. Renal failure due to polycystic kidneys and non-renal extra-hepatic features are common in ADPKD in contrast to VMC and PCLD. In general, liver function remains prolonged preserved in PLD. Ultrasonography is the first instrument to assess liver phenotype. Indeed, PCLD and ADPKD diagnostic criteria rely on detection of hepatorenal cystogenesis, and secondly a positive family history compatible with an autosomal dominant inheritance pattern. Ambiguous imaging or screening may be assisted by genetic counseling and molecular diagnostics. Screening mutations of the genes causing PCLD (PRKCSH and SEC63) or ADPKD (PKD1 and PKD2) confirm the clinical diagnosis. Genetic studies showed that accumulation of somatic hits in cyst epithelium determine the rate-limiting step for cyst formation. Management of adult PLD is based on liver phenotype, severity of clinical features and quality of life. Conservative treatment is recommended for the majority of PLD patients. The primary aim is to halt cyst growth to allow abdominal decompression and ameliorate symptoms. Invasive procedures are required in a selective patient group with advanced PCLD, ADPKD or liver failure. Pharmacological therapy by somatostatin analogues lead to beneficial outcome of PLD in terms of symptom relief and liver volume reduction.
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