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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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School of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Fremantle Hospital, Alma Rd., Fremantle, WA 6101, Australia.



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.

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