BACKGROUND. The chemokine system of ligands and receptors is implicated in the progression of Alcohol-associated hepatitis (AH). Finding upstream regulators could lead to novel therapies. MOTHODS. The coordinated expression of chemokines in livers of healthy controls (HC) and patients with AH in two distinct cohorts of patients with various chronic liver diseases. Studies in cultured hepatocytes and in tissue-specific knockouts were used for mechanistic insight into a potential upstream regulator of chemokine expression in AH. RESULTS. Selected C-X-C chemokine members of the Interleukin-8 (IL-8) chemokine family and C-C chemokine CCl20 were highly associated with AH compared to HC, but not in patients with liver diseases of other etiologies (NAFLD or HCV). Our previous studies implicate Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) as a pleiotropic cytokine/chemokine with the potential to coordinately regulate chemokine expression in AH. LPS-stimulated expression of multiple chemokines in cultured hepatocytes was dependent on MIF. Gao-binge ethanol feeding to mice induced a similar coordinated chemokine expression in livers of wild-type mice; this was prevented in hepatocyte-specific Mif knockout (MifΔHep) mice. CONCLUSIONS. This study demonstrates that patients with AH exhibit a specific, coordinately expressed chemokine signature and hepatocyte-derived MIF might drive this inflammatory response.
Kyle L. Poulsen, Xiude D. Fan, Christopher D. Kibler, Emily Huang, Xiaoqin Wu, Megan R. McMullen, Lin Leng, Richard Bucala, Meritxell Ventura-Cots, Josepmaria Argemi, Ramon Bataller, Laura E. Nagy