We developed an in vitro model system where induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) differentiate into 3-dimensional human hepatic organoids (HOs) through stages that resemble human liver during its embryonic development. The HOs consist of hepatocytes, and cholangiocytes, which are organized into epithelia that surround the lumina of bile duct–like structures. The organoids provide a potentially new model for liver regenerative processes, and were used to characterize the effect of different JAG1 mutations that cause: (a) Alagille syndrome (ALGS), a genetic disorder where NOTCH signaling pathway mutations impair bile duct formation, which has substantial variability in its associated clinical features; and (b) Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF), which is the most common form of a complex congenital heart disease, and is associated with several different heritable disorders. Our results demonstrate how an iPSC-based organoid system can be used with genome editing technologies to characterize the pathogenetic effect of human genetic disease-causing mutations.
Yuan Guan, Dan Xu, Phillip M. Garfin, Ursula Ehmer, Melissa Hurwitz, Greg Enns, Sara Michie, Manhong Wu, Ming Zheng, Toshihiko Nishimura, Julien Sage, Gary Peltz
Alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) are among the most frequent causes of chronic liver disease in the United States. Although the two entities are triggered by different etiologies — chronic alcohol consumption (ASH) and obesity-associated lipotoxicity (NASH) — they share overlapping histological and clinical features owing to common pathogenic mechanisms. These pathogenic processes include altered hepatocyte lipid metabolism, organelle dysfunction (i.e., ER stress), hepatocyte apoptosis, innate immune system activation, and hepatic stellate cell activation. Nonetheless, there are several disease-specific molecular signaling pathways, such as differential pathway activation downstream of TLR4 (MyD88-dependence in NASH versus MyD88-independence in ASH), inflammasome activation and IL-1β signaling in ASH, insulin resistance and lipotoxicity in NASH, and dysregulation of different microRNAs, which clearly highlight that ASH and NASH are two distinct biological entities. Both pathogenic similarities and differences have therapeutic implications. In this Review, we discuss these pathogenic mechanisms and their therapeutic implications for each disease, focusing on both shared and distinct targets.
Thomas Greuter, Harmeet Malhi, Gregory J. Gores, Vijay H. Shah
With the increase in obesity worldwide, its associated comorbidities, including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), have become a public health problem that still lacks effective therapy. We have previously reported that mixed-lineage kinase 3–deficient (MLK3-deficient) mice are protected against diet-induced NASH. Given the critical need to identify new therapeutic agents, we sought to examine whether the small-molecule MLK3 inhibitor URMC099 would be effective in reversing diet-induced murine NASH. C57BL/6J mice were fed either a diet high in saturated fat, fructose, and cholesterol (FFC), or a chow diet for 24 weeks. Mice were treated with either URMC099 (10 mg/kg) twice daily by intraperitoneal injection or its vehicle during the last 2 weeks of the feeding study. FFC-fed mice receiving URMC099 had similar body weight, caloric intake, homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance, metabolic phenotype, and hepatic steatosis compared with vehicle-treated mice. Furthermore, FFC-fed mice treated with URMC099 had less hepatic macrophage infiltration, activation, and proinflammatory polarization, as well as less liver injury and fibrosis when compared with vehicle-treated mice. In conclusion, URMC099 is well tolerated in mice without obvious toxicities and appears to be efficacious in reversing diet-induced NASH. Hence, URMC099 may serve as a therapeutic agent in human NASH.
Kyoko Tomita, Rohit Kohli, Brittany L. MacLaurin, Petra Hirsova, Qianqian Guo, Luz H. Gutierrez Sanchez, Harris A. Gelbard, Burns C. Blaxall, Samar H. Ibrahim
Over the last several years, one of the major advances in the field of alcoholic liver disease research was the discovery that binge alcohol consumption induced neutrophilia and hepatic neutrophil infiltration in chronically ethanol-fed mice and human subjects with excessive alcohol use (EAU); however, the underlying mechanisms remain obscure. Here, we demonstrated that chronic EAU patients with a history of recent excessive drinking (EAU + RD) had higher serum levels of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA)-enriched microparticles (MPs) than EAU without recent drinking (EAU – RD) and healthy controls, which correlated positively with circulating neutrophils. Similarly, mice with chronic-plus-binge (E10d + 1B) ethanol feeding also had markedly elevated serum levels of mtDNA-enriched MPs, with activation of hepatic ER stress and inflammatory responses. Inhibition of ER stress by gene KO or inhibitors attenuated ethanol-induced elevation of mtDNA-enriched MPs, neutrophilia, and liver injury. The data from the study of hepatocyte-specific deletion of the protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (Perk) gene in mice and of cultured hepatocytes demonstrated that hepatocytes were the main source of mtDNA-enriched MPs after ethanol feeding. Finally, administration of mtDNA-enriched MPs isolated from E10d+1B-fed mice caused neutrophilia in mice. In conclusion, E10d + 1B ethanol consumption activates hepatic ER stress–dependent mtDNA-enriched MP release, leading to neutrophilia and liver injury.
Yan Cai, Ming-Jiang Xu, Erik H. Koritzinsky, Zhou Zhou, Wei Wang, Haixia Cao, Peter S.T. Yuen, Ruth A. Ross, Robert A. Star, Suthat Liangpunsakul, Bin Gao
Fibrosis results from the dysregulation of tissue repair mechanisms affecting major organ systems, leading to chronic extracellular matrix buildup, and progressive, often fatal, organ failure. Current diagnosis relies on invasive biopsies. Noninvasive methods today cannot distinguish actively progressive fibrogenesis from stable scar, and thus are insensitive for monitoring disease activity or therapeutic responses. Collagen oxidation is a universal signature of active fibrogenesis that precedes collagen crosslinking. Biochemically targeting oxidized lysine residues formed by the action of lysyl oxidase on collagen with a small-molecule gadolinium chelate enables targeted molecular magnetic resonance imaging. This noninvasive direct biochemical elucidation of the fibrotic microenvironment specifically and robustly detected and staged pulmonary and hepatic fibrosis progression, and monitored therapeutic response in animal models. Furthermore, this paradigm is translatable and generally applicable to diverse fibroproliferative disorders.
Howard H. Chen, Philip A. Waghorn, Lan Wei, Luis F. Tapias, Daniel T. Schühle, Nicholas J. Rotile, Chloe M. Jones, Richard J. Looby, Gaofeng Zhao, Justin M. Elliott, Clemens K. Probst, Mari Mino-Kenudson, Gregory Y. Lauwers, Andrew M. Tager, Kenneth K. Tanabe, Michael Lanuti, Bryan C. Fuchs, Peter Caravan
Cholesterol accumulation in the liver is an early event in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Here, we demonstrate that E2F1 plays a crucial role in maintaining cellular cholesterol homeostasis by regulating cholesterol uptake via proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin 9 (PCSK9), an enzyme that promotes low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) degradation upon activation.
Qiuwen Lai, Albert Giralt, Cédric Le May, Lianjun Zhang, Bertrand Cariou, Pierre-Damien Denechaud, Lluis Fajas
Mechanisms of bile acid–induced (BA-induced) liver injury in cholestasis are controversial, limiting development of new therapies. We examined how BAs initiate liver injury using isolated liver cells from humans and mice and in-vivo mouse models. At pathophysiologic concentrations, BAs induced proinflammatory cytokine expression in mouse and human hepatocytes, but not in nonparenchymal cells or cholangiocytes. These hepatocyte-specific cytokines stimulated neutrophil chemotaxis. Inflammatory injury was mitigated in
Shi-Ying Cai, Xinshou Ouyang, Yonglin Chen, Carol J. Soroka, Juxian Wang, Albert Mennone, Yucheng Wang, Wajahat Z. Mehal, Dhanpat Jain, James L. Boyer
Liver X receptors (LXRs) are transcription factors essential for cholesterol homeostasis and lipogenesis. LXRα has been implicated in regulating hepatic triglyceride (TG) accumulation upon both influx of adipose-derived fatty acids (FAs) during fasting and stimulation of de novo FA synthesis by chemical agonism of LXR. However, whether or not a convergent mechanism is employed to drive deposition of FAs from these 2 different sources in TGs is undetermined. Here, we report that the G0/G1 Switch Gene 2 (G0S2), a selective inhibitor of intracellular TG hydrolysis/lipolysis, is a direct target gene of LXRα. Transcriptional activation is conferred by LXRα binding to a direct repeat 4 (DR4) motif in the G0S2 promoter. While LXRα–/– mice exhibited decreased hepatic G0S2 expression, adenoviral expression of G0S2 was sufficient to restore fasting-induced TG storage and glycogen depletion in the liver of these mice. In response to LXR agonist T0901317, G0S2 ablation prevented hepatic steatosis and hypertriglyceridemia without affecting the beneficial effects on HDL. Thus, the LXRα-G0S2 axis plays a distinct role in regulating hepatic TG during both fasting and pharmacological activation of LXR.
Bradlee L. Heckmann, Xiaodong Zhang, Alicia M. Saarinen, Gabriele Schoiswohl, Erin E. Kershaw, Rudolf Zechner, Jun Liu
Hepatic fibrosis arises from inflammation in the liver initiated by resident macrophage activation and massive leukocyte accumulation. Hepatic macrophages hold a central position in maintaining homeostasis in the liver and in the pathogenesis of acute and chronic liver injury linked to fibrogenesis. Interferon regulatory factor 5 (IRF5) has recently emerged as an important proinflammatory transcription factor involved in macrophage activation under acute and chronic inflammation. Here, we revealed that IRF5 is significantly induced in liver macrophages from human subjects developing liver fibrosis from nonalcoholic fatty liver disease or hepatitis C virus infection. Furthermore, IRF5 expression positively correlated with clinical markers of liver damage, such as plasma transaminase and bilirubin levels. Interestingly, mice lacking IRF5 in myeloid cells (MKO) were protected from hepatic fibrosis induced by metabolic or toxic stresses. Transcriptional reprogramming of macrophages lacking IRF5 was characterized by immunosuppressive and antiapoptotic properties. Consequently, IRF5 MKO mice respond to hepatocellular stress by promoting hepatocyte survival, leading to complete protection from hepatic fibrogenesis. Our findings reveal a regulatory network, governed by IRF5, that mediates hepatocyte death and liver fibrosis in mice and humans. Therefore, modulating IRF5 function may be an attractive approach to experimental therapeutics in fibroinflammatory liver disease.
Fawaz Alzaid, Floriane Lagadec, Miguel Albuquerque, Raphaëlle Ballaire, Lucie Orliaguet, Isabelle Hainault, Corinne Blugeon, Sophie Lemoine, Agnès Lehuen, David G. Saliba, Irina A. Udalova, Valérie Paradis, Fabienne Foufelle, Nicolas Venteclef
A barrier to drug development for nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is the absence of translational preclinical human-relevant systems. An in vitro liver model was engineered to incorporate hepatic sinusoidal flow, transport, and lipotoxic stress risk factors (glucose, insulin, free fatty acids) with cocultured primary human hepatocytes, hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), and macrophages. Transcriptomic, lipidomic, and functional endpoints were evaluated and compared with clinical data from NASH patient biopsies. The lipotoxic milieu promoted hepatocyte lipid accumulation (4-fold increase,
Ryan E. Feaver, Banumathi K. Cole, Mark J. Lawson, Stephen A. Hoang, Svetlana Marukian, Brett R. Blackman, Robert A. Figler, Arun J. Sanyal, Brian R. Wamhoff, Ajit Dash
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