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J Hepatol. 1999 Oct;31(4):703-11.

Increased expression of plasminogen activator and plasminogen activator inhibitor during liver fibrogenesis of rats: role of stellate cells.

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Third Department of Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan.



Plasminogen activators and plasminogen activator inhibitors are important regulators of the balance between the proteolytic and antiproteolytic activities that determine extracellular matrix turnover. We examined the expression of plasminogen activator-plasmin system components in experimental liver fibrosis of rats.


Liver fibrosis was produced in rats by injecting carbon tetrachloride for 6 to 12 weeks. Gene expression for plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), urokinase and tissue plasminogen activators (uPA and tPA), urokinase plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR), and transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) was examined by Northern analysis. Western analysis was performed to detect protein expression of PAI-1, uPA and uPAR. An immunohistochemical study was performed to detect the localization of PAI-1. Additionally, primary cultured liver cells were examined by Northern and Western analyses for this protein with or without prior incubation with TGF-beta1.


At 6 weeks, when fibrosis had occurred, uPA and uPAR mRNAs had increased 2.8-fold and 1.8-fold, respectively; PAI-1 and tPA mRNA levels were unchanged. At the cirrhotic stage (9 to 12 weeks), mRNA levels for PAI-1, uPA, uPAR and tPA were all increased. Western analysis also showed increased uPA and uPAR expressions in fibrotic liver, and increased PAI-1, uPA and uPAR expressions in cirrhotic liver. PAI-1 protein was also demonstrated immunohistochemically along sinusoids, vessels, and bile duct cells of normal and fibrotic liver. In liver cell cultures, Kupffer cells, hepatocytes, and especially stellate cells, expressed PAI-1. Expression was enhanced in stellate cells cultured from fibrotic or cirrhotic liver or stimulated in vitro with TGF-beta1.


Though increased uPA and uPAR may act on matrix degradation in fibrotic liver, increased PAI-1 together with uPA, uPAR and tPA are associated with overall inhibition of matrix degradation in cirrhotic liver. Hepatic stellate cells are an important source of PAI-1 during liver fibrosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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