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Lab Invest. 2004 Aug;84(8):1037-49.

IGF-I induces DNA synthesis and apoptosis in rat liver hepatic stellate cells (HSC) but DNA synthesis and proliferation in rat liver myofibroblasts (rMF).

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Gastroenterology and Endocrinology, University of Göttingen, Göttingen, Germany.


Several lines of evidence suggest a role of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) in the regulation of apoptosis. Up to now its impact on many specific cells is unknown. We therefore studied the effect of IGF-I on two similar mesenchymal matrix-producing cell types of the liver, the hepatic stellate cells (HSC) and the myofibroblasts (rMF). The present study aimed to reveal the influence of IGF-I on cell cycle and apoptosis of HSC and rMF and to elucidate responsible signaling. While IGF-I significantly increased DNA synthesis in HSC, cell number decreased and apoptosis increased. In rMF IGF-I also increased DNA synthesis, which is, however, followed by proliferation. Blocking extracellular signal regulating kinase (ERK) revealed that in HSC, bcl-2 upregulation and bax downregulation are effected downstream of ERK, whereas downregulation of NFkappaB and consecutive of bcl-xL is mediated upstream. In the rMF upregulation of both, the antiapoptotic bcl-2 and bcl-xL is mediated upstream of ERK. The expression of the proapoptotic bax is not regulated by IGF-I in rMF. The studies demonstrate a completely different effect and signaling of IGF-I in two morphologically and functionally similar matrix-producing cells of the liver.

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