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After significant injury, the liver must maintain homeostasis during the regenerative process. We hypothesized the existence of mechanisms to limit hepatocyte proliferation after injury to maintain metabolic and synthetic function. A screen for candidates revealed suppressor of cytokine signaling 2 (SOCS2), an inhibitor of growth hormone (GH) signaling, was strongly induced after partial hepatectomy. Using genetic deletion and administration of various factors we investigated the role of SOCS2 during liver regeneration. SOCS2 preserves liver function by restraining the first round of hepatocyte proliferation after partial hepatectomy by preventing increases in growth hormone receptor (GHR) via ubiquitination, suppressing GH pathway activity. At later times, SOCS2 enhances hepatocyte proliferation by modulating a decrease in serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) that allows GH release from the pituitary. SOCS2, therefore, plays a dual role in modulating the rate of hepatocyte proliferation. In particular, this is the first demonstration of an endogenous mechanism to limit hepatocyte proliferation after injury.
© 2016 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc.
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ERBB3 have been implicated in hepatocellular carcinogenesis (HCC). However, it is not known whether altering the activity of either EGFR or ERBB3 affects HCC development. We now show that Egfr(Dsk5) mutant mice, which have a gain-of-function allele that increases basal EGFR kinase activity, develop spontaneous HCC by 10 mo of age. Their tumors show increased activation of EGFR, ERBB2, and ERBB3 as well as AKT and ERK1,2. Hepatocyte-specific models of EGFR and ERBB3 gene ablation were generated to evaluate how the loss of these genes affected tumor progression. Loss of either receptor tyrosine kinase did not alter liver development or regenerative liver growth following carbon tetrachloride injection. However, using a well-characterized model of HCC in which N-nitrosodiethylamine is injected into 14-day-old mice, we discovered that loss of hepatocellular ERBB3 but not EGFR, which occurred after tumor initiation, retarded liver tumor formation and cell proliferation. We found no evidence that this was due to increased apoptosis or diminished phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase activity in the ERBB3-null cells. However, the relative amount of phospho-STAT3 was diminished in tumors derived from these mice, suggesting that ERBB3 may promote HCC through STAT3 activation.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
Agents that promote tissue regeneration could be beneficial in a variety of clinical settings, such as stimulating recovery of the hematopoietic system after bone marrow transplantation. Prostaglandin PGE2, a lipid signaling molecule that supports expansion of several types of tissue stem cells, is a candidate therapeutic target for promoting tissue regeneration in vivo. Here, we show that inhibition of 15-hydroxyprostaglandin dehydrogenase (15-PGDH), a prostaglandin-degrading enzyme, potentiates tissue regeneration in multiple organs in mice. In a chemical screen, we identify a small-molecule inhibitor of 15-PGDH (SW033291) that increases prostaglandin PGE2 levels in bone marrow and other tissues. SW033291 accelerates hematopoietic recovery in mice receiving a bone marrow transplant. The same compound also promotes tissue regeneration in mouse models of colon and liver injury. Tissues from 15-PGDH knockout mice demonstrate similar increased regenerative capacity. Thus, 15-PGDH inhibition may be a valuable therapeutic strategy for tissue regeneration in diverse clinical contexts.
Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
The role(s) of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in hepatocytes is unknown. We generated a murine hepatocyte specific-EGFR knockout (KO) model to evaluate how loss of hepatocellular EGFR expression affects processes such as EGF clearance, circulating EGF concentrations, and liver regeneration following 70% resection or CCl4-induced centrilobular injury. We were able to disrupt EGFR expression effectively in hepatocytes and showed that the ability of EGF and heregulin (HRG) to phosphorylate EGFR and ERBB3, respectively, required EGFR. Loss of hepatocellular EGFR impaired clearance of exogenous EGF from the portal circulation but paradoxically resulted in reduced circulating levels of endogenous EGF. This was associated with decreased submandibular salivary gland production of EGF. EGFR disruption did not result in increased expression of other ERBB proteins or Met, except in neonatal mice. Liver regeneration following 70% hepatectomy revealed a mild phenotype, with no change in cyclin D1 expression and slight differences in cyclin A expression compared with controls. Peak 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine labeling was shifted from 36 to 48 h. Centrilobular damage and regenerative response induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) were identical in the KO and wild-type mice. In contrast, loss of Met increased CCl4-induced necrosis and delayed regeneration. Although loss of hepatocellular EGFR alone did not have an effect in this model, EGFR-Met double KOs displayed enhanced necrosis and delayed liver regeneration compared with Met KOs alone. This suggests that EGFR and Met may partially compensate for the loss of the other, although other compensatory mechanisms can be envisioned.
Copyright © 2015 the American Physiological Society.
Pharmacologic agents to enhance liver regeneration after injury would have wide therapeutic application. Based on previous work suggesting inhibition of bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) signaling stimulates liver regeneration, we tested known and novel BMP inhibitors for their ability to accelerate regeneration in a partial hepatectomy (PH) model. Compounds were produced based on the 3,6-disubstituted pyrazolo[1,5-a] pyrimidine core of the BMP antagonist dorsomorphin and evaluated for their ability to inhibit BMP signaling and enhance liver regeneration. Antagonists of the BMP receptor activin receptor-like kinase 3 (ALK3), including LDN-193189 (LDN; 4-[6-[4-(1-piperazinyl)phenyl]pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidin-3-yl]-quinoline), DMH2 (4-(2-(4-(3-(quinolin-4-yl)pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidin-6-yl)phenoxy)ethyl)morpholine; VU0364849), and the novel compound VU0465350 (7-(4-isopropoxyphenyl)-3-(1H-pyrazol-4-yl)imidazo[1,2-a]pyridine; VU5350), blocked SMAD phosphorylation in vitro and in vivo, and enhanced liver regeneration after PH. In contrast, an antagonist of the BMP receptor ALK2, VU0469381 (5-(6-(4-methoxyphenyl)pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidin-3-yl)quinolone; 1LWY), did not affect liver regeneration. LDN did not affect liver synthetic or metabolic function. Mechanistically, LDN increased serum interleukin-6 levels and signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation in the liver, and modulated other factors known to be important for liver regeneration, including suppressor of cytokine signaling 3 and p53. These findings suggest that inhibition of ALK3 may be part of a therapeutic strategy for treating human liver disease.
Copyright © 2014 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.
BACKGROUND - Postoperative or remnant liver volume (RLV) after hepatic resection is a critical predictor of perioperative outcomes. This study investigates whether the accuracy of liver surgical planning software for predicting postoperative RLV and assessing early regeneration.
STUDY DESIGN - Patients eligible for hepatic resection were approached for participation in the study from June 2008 to 2010. All patients underwent cross-sectional imaging (CT or MRI) before and early after resection. Planned remnant liver volume (pRLV) (based on the planned resection on the preoperative scan) and postoperative actual remnant liver volume (aRLV) (determined from early postoperative scan) were measured using Scout Liver software (Pathfinder Therapeutics Inc.). Differences between pRLV and aRLV were analyzed, controlling for timing of postoperative imaging. Measured total liver volume (TLV) was compared with standard equations for calculating volume.
RESULTS - Sixty-six patients were enrolled in the study from June 2008 to June 2010 at 3 treatment centers. Correlation was found between pRLV and aRLV (r = 0.941; p < 0.001), which improved when timing of postoperative imaging was considered (r = 0.953; p < 0.001). Relative volume deviation from pRLV to aRLV stratified cases according to timing of postoperative imaging showed evidence of measurable regeneration beginning 5 days after surgery, with stabilization at 8 days (p < 0.01). For patients at the upper and lower extremes of liver volumes, TLV was poorly estimated using standard equations (up to 50% in some cases).
CONCLUSIONS - Preoperative virtual planning of future liver remnant accurately predicts postoperative volume after hepatic resection. Early postoperative liver regeneration is measureable on imaging beginning at 5 days after surgery. Measuring TLV directly from CT scans rather than calculating based on equations accounts for extremes in TLV.
Copyright © 2014 American College of Surgeons. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Activation of hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) is commonly observed in chronic liver disease and Wnt/β-catenin signaling plays a crucial role in the expansion of HPCs. However, the molecular mechanisms that regulate the activation of Wnt/β-catenin signaling in the liver, especially in HPCs, remain largely elusive. Here, we reported that ectopic expression of Smad6 suppressed the proliferation and self-renewal of WB-F344 cells, a HPC cell line. Mechanistically, we found that Smad6 inhibited Wnt/β-catenin signaling through promoting the interaction of C-terminal binding protein (CtBP) with β-catenin/T-cell factor (TCF) complex to inhibit β-catenin mediated transcriptional activation in WB-F344 cells. We used siRNA targeting β-catenin to demonstrate that Wnt/β-catenin signaling was required for the proliferation and self-renewal of HPCs. Taken together, these results suggest that Smad6 is a regulatory molecule which regulates the proliferation, self-renewal and Wnt/β-catenin signaling in HPCs.
© 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
BACKGROUND & AIMS - It is widely recognized that in the early stages of liver regeneration after partial hepatectomy, the hepatocytes accumulate a significant amount of lipids. The functional meaning of this transient steatosis and its effect on hepatocellular proliferation are not well defined. In addition, the basic mechanisms of this lipid accumulation are not well understood although some studies suggest the participation of the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor (Ldlr).
METHODS - To address these questions, we studied the process of liver regeneration in Ldlr null mice and wild type mice following partial hepatectomy.
RESULTS - Ldlr deficiency was associated with a significant decrease in serum albumin concentration, during early stages of liver regeneration, and a delayed hepatic regeneration. Remnant livers of Ldlr(-)(/)(-) showed a time-shifted expression of interleukin-6 (IL6) and a defective activation of tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) expression in early phases of liver regeneration. Unexpectedly, Ldlr(-)(/)(-) showed no significant differences in the content of lipid droplets after partial hepatectomy compared to wild type mice. However, lipidomic analysis of the regenerating liver from Ldlr(-)(/)(-) revealed a lipid profile compatible with liver quiescence: high content of cholesterol esters and ceramide, and low levels of phosphatidylcholine.
CONCLUSIONS - Ldlr deficiency is associated with significant changes in the hepatic lipidome that affect cytokine-growth factor signaling and impair liver regeneration. These results suggest that the analysis of the hepatic lipidome may help predict the success of liver regeneration in the clinical environment, specifically in the context of pre-existing liver steatosis.
Copyright © 2013 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
OBJECTIVE - To study molecular mechanisms involved in hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) mobilization after liver resection and determine impacts on liver regeneration.
BACKGROUND - Extracellular nucleotide-mediated cell signaling has been shown to boost liver regeneration. Ectonucleotidases of the CD39 family are expressed by bone marrow-derived cells, and purinergic mechanisms might also impact mobilization and functions of HSC after liver injury.
METHODS - Partial hepatectomy was performed in C57BL/6 wild-type, Cd39 ectonucleotidase-null mice and in chimeric mice after transplantation of wild-type or Cd39-null bone marrow. Bone marrow-derived HSCs were purified by fluorescence-activated cell sorting and administered after hepatectomy. Chemotactic studies were performed to examine effects of purinergic receptor agonists and antagonists in vitro. Mobilization of human HSCs and expression of CD39 were examined and linked to the extent of resection and liver tests.
RESULTS - Subsets of HSCs expressing Cd39 are preferentially mobilized after partial hepatectomy. Chemotactic responses of HSCs are increased by CD39-dependent adenosine triphosphate hydrolysis and adenosine signaling via A2A receptors in vitro. Mobilized Cd39 HSCs boost liver regeneration, potentially limiting interleukin 1β signaling. In clinical studies, mobilized human HSCs also express CD39 at high levels. Mobilization of HSCs correlates directly with the restoration of liver volume and function after partial hepatectomy.
CONCLUSIONS - We demonstrate CD39 to be a novel HSC marker that defines a functionally distinct stem cell subset in mice and humans. HSCs are mobilized after liver resection, limit inflammation, and boost regeneration in a CD39-dependent manner. These observations have implications for monitoring and indicate future therapeutic avenues.