Display Settings:


Send to:

Choose Destination
J Hepatol. 2012 Apr;56(4):893-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2011.11.013. Epub 2011 Dec 13.

Intestinal decontamination inhibits TLR4 dependent fibronectin-mediated cross-talk between stellate cells and endothelial cells in liver fibrosis in mice.

Author information

  • 1Gastroenterology Research Unit, Mayo Clinic and Foundation, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.



Liver fibrosis is associated with angiogenesis and leads to portal hypertension. Certain antibiotics reduce complications of liver failure in humans, however, the effects of antibiotics on the pathologic alterations of the disease are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to test whether the non-absorbable antibiotic rifaximin could attenuate fibrosis progression and portal hypertension in vivo, and explore potential mechanisms in vitro.


The effect of rifaximin on portal pressure, fibrosis, and angiogenesis was examined in wild type and Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) mutant mice after bile duct ligation (BDL). In vitro studies were carried out to evaluate the effect of the bacterial product and TLR agonist lipopolysaccharide (LPS) on paracrine interactions between hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and liver endothelial cells (LEC) that lead to fibrosis and portal hypertension.


Portal pressure, fibrosis, and angiogenesis were significantly lower in BDL mice receiving rifaximin compared to BDL mice receiving vehicle. Studies in TLR4 mutant mice confirmed that the effect of rifaximin was dependent on LPS/TLR4 pathway. Fibronectin (FN) was increased in the BDL liver and was reduced by rifaximin administration and thus, was explored further in vitro as a potential mediator of paracrine interactions of HSC and LEC. In vitro, LPS promoted FN production from HSC. Furthermore, HSC-derived FN promoted LEC migration and angiogenesis.


These studies expand our understanding of the relationship of intestinal microbiota with fibrosis development by identifying FN as a TLR4 dependent mediator of the matrix and vascular changes that characterize cirrhosis.

Copyright © 2011 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Images from this publication.See all images (4)Free text

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk