Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is clearly age-related and represents one of the deadliest cancer types worldwide. Due to globally increasing risk factors including metabolic disorders, the incidence rates of HCC are still rising. However, the molecular hallmarks of HCC remain poorly understood. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and NPY-receptors represent a highly conserved, stress-activated system which is involved in diverse cancer-related hallmarks including aging and metabolic alterations, but its impact on liver cancer had been unclear. Here, we observed increased NPY5-receptor (Y5R) expression in HCC which correlated with tumor growth and survival. Furthermore, we found that its ligand NPY was secreted by peri-tumorous hepatocytes. Hepatocyte-derived NPY promoted HCC progression by Y5R-activation. Transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGFβ1) was identified as a regulator of NPY in hepatocytes and induced Y5R in invasive cancer cells. Moreover, NPY-conversion by dipeptidylpeptidase 4 (DPP4) augmented Y5R-activation and function in liver cancer. The TGFβ-NPY-Y5R-axis and DPP4 represent attractive therapeutic targets for controlling liver cancer progression.
Peter Dietrich, Laura Wormser, Valerie Fritz, Tatjana Seitz, Monica De Maria, Alexandra Schambony, Andreas E. Kremer, Claudia Günther, Timo Itzel, Wolfgang E. Thasler, Andreas Teufel, Jonel Trebicka, Arndt Hartmann, Markus F. Neurath, Stephan von Hörsten, Anja Bosserhoff, Claus Hellerbrand
Severe alcoholic hepatitis (SAH) is a deadly liver disease without an effective medical therapy. Although SAH mortality is known to correlate with hepatic accumulation of immature liver cells, why this occurs, and how it causes death is unclear. Here, we demonstrated that expression of epithelial splicing regulatory protein-2 (ESRP2), an RNA splicing factor that maintains the non-proliferative, mature phenotype of adult hepatocytes, was suppressed in both human SAH and various mouse models of SAH in parallel with the severity of alcohol consumption and liver damage. Inflammatory cytokines released by excessive alcohol ingestion reprogrammed adult hepatocytes into proliferative, fetal-like cells by suppressing ESRP2. Sustained loss of ESRP2 permitted re-emergence of a fetal RNA splicing program that attenuates the Hippo signaling pathway and thus, allows fetal transcriptional regulators to accumulate in adult liver. We further showed that depleting ESRP2 in mice exacerbated alcohol-induced steatohepatitis, enabling surviving hepatocytes to shed adult hepatocyte functions and become more regenerative but threatens overall survival by populating the liver with functionally-immature hepatocytes. Our findings revealed a novel mechanism that explains why liver failure develops in patients with the clinical syndrome of SAH, suggesting that recovery from SAH might be improved by limiting adult-to-fetal reprogramming in hepatocytes.
Jeongeun Hyun, Zhaoli Sun, Ali Reza Ahmadi, Sushant Bangru, Ullas V. Chembazhi, Kuo Du, Tianyi Chen, Hidekazu Tsukamoto, Ivan Rusyn, Auinash Kalsotra, Anna Mae Diehl
Background. An increase in intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) is the hallmark feature of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and is decreased by weight loss. Hepatic de novo lipogenesis (DNL) contributes to steatosis in people with NAFLD. The physiological factors that stimulate hepatic DNL and the effect of weight loss on hepatic DNL are not clear.Methods. Hepatic DNL, 24-h integrated plasma insulin and glucose concentrations, and both liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were determined in people who were lean (n = 14), obese with normal IHTG content (Obese, n = 26) and obese with NAFLD (Obese-NAFLD, n = 27). Hepatic DNL was assessed by using the deuterated water method corrected for the potential confounding contribution of adipose tissue DNL. Liver and whole-body insulin sensitivity were assessed by using the hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp procedure in conjunction with glucose tracer infusion. Six subjects in the Obese-NAFLD group were also evaluated before and after 10% diet-induced weight loss.Results. The contribution of hepatic DNL to IHTG-palmitate was 11%, 19% and 38% in the Lean, Obese and Obese-NAFLD groups, respectively. Hepatic DNL was inversely correlated with hepatic and whole-body insulin sensitivity, but directly correlated with 24-h plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Weight loss decreased IHTG content, in conjunction with a decrease in hepatic DNL and 24-h plasma glucose and insulin concentrations. Conclusions. These data suggest hepatic DNL is an important regulator of IHTG content, and that increases in circulating glucose and insulin stimulate hepatic DNL in people with NAFLD. Weight loss decreases IHTG content, at least in part, by decreasing hepatic DNL.
Gordon I. Smith, Mahalakshmi Shankaran, Mihoko Yoshino, George G. Schweitzer, Maria Chondronikola, Joseph W. Beals, Adewole L. Okunade, Bruce W. Patterson, Edna Nyangau, Tyler Field, Claude B. Sirlin, Saswata Talukdar, Marc K. Hellerstein, Samuel Klein
John M. Carethers
SAB is an outer membrane docking protein for JNK mediated impaired mitochondrial function. Deletion of Sab in hepatocytes inhibits sustained JNK activation and cell death. Current work demonstrated that increasing SAB enhanced the severity of APAP liver injury. Female mice were resistant to liver injury and exhibited markedly decreased hepatic SAB protein expression versus males. The mechanism of SAB repression involved a pathway from ERα to p53 expression which induced miR34a-5p. miR34a-5p targeted the Sab mRNA coding region, repressing SAB expression. Fulvestrant or p53 knockdown decreased miR34a-5p and increased SAB in females leading to increased injury from APAP and TNF/galactosamine. In contrast, ERα agonist increased p53 and miR34a-5p which decreased SAB expression and hepatotoxicity in males. Hepatocyte-specific deletion of miR34a also increased severity of liver injury in females, which was prevented by GalNAc-ASO knockdown of Sab. Similar to mice, premenopausal human females also expressed high hepatic p53 and low SAB levels while age-matched males expressed low p53 and high SAB levels, but there was no sex difference of SAB expression in postmenopause. In conclusion, the level of SAB expression determined the severity of JNK dependent liver injury. Females expressed low hepatic SAB protein levels due to an ERα-p53-miR34a pathway which repressed SAB expression, accounting for resistance to liver injury.
Sanda Win, Robert W.M. Min, Christopher Q. Chen, Jun Zhang, Yibu Chen, Meng Li, Ayako Suzuki, Manal F. Abdelmalek, Ying Wang, Mariam Aghajan, Filbert W.M. Aung, Anna Mae Diehl, Roger J. Davis, Tin A. Than, Neil Kaplowitz
Serine rich splicing factor 3 (SRSF3) plays a critical role in liver function and its loss promotes chronic liver damage and regeneration. As a consequence, genetic deletion of SRSF3 in hepatocytes caused progressive liver disease and ultimately led to hepatocellular carcinoma. Here we show that SRSF3 is decreased in human liver samples with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), or cirrhosis that was associated with alterations in RNA splicing of known SRSF3 target genes. Hepatic SRSF3 expression was similarly decreased and RNA splicing dysregulated in mouse models of NAFLD and NASH. We showed that palmitic acid-induced oxidative stress caused conjugation of the ubiquitin like NEDD8 protein to SRSF3 and proteasome mediated degradation. SRSF3 was selectively neddylated at lysine11 and mutation of this residue (SRSF3-K11R) was sufficient to prevent both SRSF3 degradation and alterations in RNA splicing. Finally prevention of SRSF3 degradation in vivo partially protected mice from hepatic steatosis, fibrosis and inflammation. These results highlight a neddylation-dependent mechanism regulating gene expression in the liver that is disrupted in early metabolic liver disease and may contribute to the progression to NASH, cirrhosis and ultimately hepatocellular carcinoma.
Deepak Kumar, Manasi Das, Consuelo Sauceda, Lesley G. Ellies, Karina Kuo, Purva Parwal, Mehak Kaur, Lily Jih, Gautam K. Bandyopadhyay, Douglas Burton, Rohit Loomba, Olivia Osborn, Nicholas J.G. Webster
Persistent, unresolved inflammation in the liver represents a key trigger for hepatic injury and fibrosis in various liver diseases and is controlled by classically activated pro-inflammatory macrophages, while restorative macrophages of the liver are capable of reversing inflammation once the injury trigger ceases. Here we have identified a novel role for neutrophils as key contributors to resolving the inflammatory response in the liver. Using two models of liver inflammatory resolution, we found that mice undergoing neutrophil depletion during the resolution phase exhibited unresolved hepatic inflammation, activation of the fibrogenic machinery and early fibrosis. These findings were associated with an impairment of the phenotypic switch of pro-inflammatory macrophages into a restorative stage after removal of the cause of injury and an increased NLRP3 / miR-223 ratio. Mice with a deletion of the granulocyte specific miR-223 gene showed a similarly impaired resolution profile that could be reversed by restoring miR-223 levels using a miR-223 3p mimic or infusing neutrophils from wildtype animals. Collectively, our findings reveal a novel role for neutrophils in the liver as resolving effector cells that induce pro-inflammatory macrophages into a restorative phenotype, potentially via miR-223.
Carolina Jimenez Calvente, Masahiko Tameda, Casey D. Johnson, Hana del Pilar, Yun Chin Lin, Nektaria Andronikou, Xavier De Mollerat Du Jeu, Cristina Llorente, Josh Boyer, Ariel E. Feldstein
Acute liver failure (ALF) is a life-threatening condition, and liver transplantation is the only therapeutic option. Although immune dysregulation is central to its pathogenesis, the precise mechanism remains unclear. Here, we show that the number of peripheral and hepatic plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) decrease during acute liver injury in both humans and mice. Selective depletion of pDCs in Siglechdtr/+ mice exacerbated concanavalin A–induced acute liver injury. In contrast, adoptively transferred BM-derived pDCs preferentially accumulated in the inflamed liver and protected against liver injury. This protective effect was independent of TLR7 and TLR9 signaling, since a similar effect occurred following transfer of MyD88-deficient pDCs. Alternatively, we found an unexpected immunosuppressive role of pDCs in an IL-35–dependent manner. Both Il12a and Ebi3, heterodimeric components of IL-35, were highly expressed in transferred pDCs and CD4+CD25+ Tregs. However, the protective effect of pDC transfer was completely lost in mice depleted of Tregs by anti-CD25 antibody. Moreover, pDCs derived from IL-35–deficient mice had less of a protective effect both in vivo and in vitro even in the presence of Tregs. These results highlight a unique aspect of pDCs in association with Tregs, serving as a guide for immunotherapeutic options in ALF.
Yuzo Koda, Nobuhiro Nakamoto, Po-Sung Chu, Aya Ugamura, Yohei Mikami, Toshiaki Teratani, Hanako Tsujikawa, Shunsuke Shiba, Nobuhito Taniki, Tomohisa Sujino, Kentaro Miyamoto, Takahiro Suzuki, Akihiro Yamaguchi, Rei Morikawa, Katsuaki Sato, Michiie Sakamoto, Takayuki Yoshimoto, Takanori Kanai
Ritonavir (RTV) is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines for antiretroviral therapy, but can cause hepatotoxicity by unknown mechanisms. Multiple clinical studies found that hepatotoxicity occurred in 100% of participants who were pretreated with rifampicin or efavirenz followed by RTV-containing regimens. Both rifampicin and efavirenz are activators of the pregnane X receptor (PXR), a transcription factor with significant inter-species differences in ligand-dependent activation. Using PXR-humanized mouse models, we recapitulated the RTV hepatotoxicity observed in the clinic. PXR was found to modulate RTV hepatotoxicity through CYP3A4-dependent pathways involved in RTV bioactivation, oxidative stress, and endoplasmic reticulum stress. In summary, the current work demonstrated the essential roles of human PXR and CYP3A4 in RTV hepatotoxicity, which can be applied to guide the safe use of RTV-containing regimens in the clinic.
Amina I. Shehu, Jie Lu, Pengcheng Wang, Junjie Zhu, Yue Wang, Da Yang, Deborah McMahon, Wen Xie, Frank J. Gonzalez, Xiaochao Ma
Chronic alcohol consumption causes liver injury, inflammation and fibrosis, thereby increasing morbidity and mortality. Paradoxically, modest drinking is believed to confer metabolic improvement, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive. Here, we have identified a novel hepatoprotective brain/brown adipose tissue (BAT)/liver axis. Alcohol consumption or direct alcohol administration into the brain stimulated hypothalamic neural circuits and sympathetic nerves innervating BAT, and dramatically increased BAT uncoupling protein 1 (Ucp1) expression and activity in a BAT sympathetic nerve-dependent manner. BAT and beige fat oxidized fatty acids to fuel Ucp1-mediated thermogenesis, thereby inhibiting lipid trafficking into the liver. BAT also secreted several adipokines, including adiponectin that suppressed hepatocyte injury and death. Genetic deletion of Ucp1 profoundly augmented alcohol-induced liver steatosis, injury, inflammation and fibrosis in male and female mice. Conversely, activation of BAT and beige fat through cold exposure suppressed alcoholic liver disease development. Our results unravel an unrecognized brain alcohol-sensing/sympathetic nerve/BAT/liver axis that counteracts liver steatosis and injury.
Hong Shen, Lin Jiang, Jiandie D. Lin, M. Bishr Omary, Liangyou Rui