[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To examine imatinib mesylate's effects on stellate cell responses in vivo and in vitro. The hepatic stellate cell (HSC) is a key target of anti-fibrotic therapies. Imatinib mesylate is a small molecule receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor indicated for treatment of chronic myelogenous leukaemia and GI stromal tumours.
Because imatinib inhibits β-PDGFR signalling, which stimulates HSC proliferation, we assessed its activity in culture and in vivo, and examined downstream targets in a human stellate cell line (LX-2) using cDNA microarray.
Imatinib inhibited proliferation of LX-2 cells (0.5-10 mM) but not primary human stellate cells, with no effect on viability, associated with attenuated β-PDGFR phosphorylation. Mitochondrial activity and superoxide anion production were decreased in response to imatinib. cDNA microarray uncovered up-regulation of 29 genes in response to imatinib, including interleukin-6 (IL-6) mRNA, which was correlated with progressive IL-6 secretion. Imatinib also decreased gene expression of collagen α(1) (I), alpha smooth muscle actin, β-PDGFR, transforming growth factor β receptor type 1, matrix metalloproteinase 2 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2. In vivo, imatinib administered to rats beginning 4 weeks after starting thioacetamide (TAA) led to reduced collagen content, with significant reductions in portal pressure and down-regulation of fibrogenic genes in whole liver. Importantly, hepatic IL-6 mRNA levels were significantly increased in TAA-treated animals receiving imatinib.
These findings reinforce the anti-fibrotic activity of imatinib and uncover an unexpected link between inhibition of HSC activation by imatinib and enhanced secretion of IL-6, a regenerative cytokine.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver