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J Hepatol. 2004 Sep;41(3):407-13.

Molecular mechanisms regulating the antifibrogenic protein heme-oxygenase-1 in human hepatic myofibroblasts.

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  • 1Unité INSERM 581, Hôpital Henri Mondor, 94010 Créteil, France.



Hepatic myofibroblasts are central in liver fibrogenesis associated with chronic liver diseases. We previously showed that heme-oxygenase-1 (HO-1) displays antifibrogenic properties in human hepatic myofibroblasts. Here, we further investigated the mechanisms regulating HO-1 expression.


Expression of HO-1 was assayed in cultured human hepatic myofibroblasts by Northern and Western blot. Functional studies were also performed in cultured human hepatic myofibroblasts.


15-Deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J2 (15-d-PGJ2) elicited inhibition of proliferation and of alpha1(I) collagen mRNA expression. These effects were reproduced by the glutathione depletor diethyl maleate and blunted by the glutathione precursor N-acetyl cysteine, indicating the involvement of oxidative stress. Two consecutive events mediated inhibition of proliferation and of alpha1(I) collagen mRNA expression by 15-d-PGJ2: (i) mild oxidative stress characterized by a transient GSH decrease and (ii) activation of p38 MAPK, resulting in increased HO-1 mRNA stability.


Our results provide new insights into the regulatory mechanisms governing HO-1 expression in human hepatic myofibroblasts and identify mild oxidative stress and p38 MAPK as two consecutive early signals promoting HO-1 induction that are crucial for its antifibrogenic properties, namely inhibition of growth and extracellular matrix gene expression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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