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J Hepatol. 2007 Jan;46(1):134-41. Epub 2006 Oct 9.

Attenuated liver progenitor (oval) cell and fibrogenic responses to the choline deficient, ethionine supplemented diet in the BALB/c inbred strain of mice.

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  • 1School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Fremantle Hospital, Alma Rd., Fremantle, WA 6101, Australia. belindat@cyllene.uwa.edu.au



Liver regeneration following chronic injury is associated with inflammation, the proliferation of liver progenitor (oval) cells and fibrosis. Previous studies identified interferon-gamma as a key mediator of oval cell proliferation. Interferon-gamma is known to regulate Th1 cell activities during immune challenge. Therefore, we hypothesised that progenitor cell-mediated regeneration is associated with a Th1 immune response.


C57Bl/6 (normal Th1 response) and BALB/c mice (deficient in Th1 signalling) were placed on a carcinogenic diet to induce liver injury, progenitor cell proliferation and fibrosis.


Serum transaminases and mortality were elevated in BALB/c mice fed the diet. Proliferation of liver progenitor cells was significantly attenuated in BALB/c animals. The pattern of cytokine expression and inflammation differed between strains. Liver fibrosis and hepatic stellate cell activation were significantly inhibited in BALB/c mice compared to C57Bl/6. In addition, interferon-gamma knockout mice also showed reduced fibrosis compared to wild type. These findings are in contrast to published results, in which interferon-gamma is shown to be anti-fibrogenic.


Our data demonstrate that the hepatic progenitor cell response to a CDE diet is inhibited in mice lacking Th1 immune signalling and further show that this inhibition is associated with reduced liver fibrosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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