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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009 Jan 16;378(3):348-53. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2008.10.155. Epub 2008 Nov 6.

TNFalpha is required for cholestasis-induced liver fibrosis in the mouse.

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Laboratory of Hepatobiology and Toxicology, Department of Pharmacology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


TNFalpha, a mediator of hepatotoxicity in several animal models, is elevated in acute and chronic liver diseases. Therefore, we investigated whether hepatic injury and fibrosis due to bile duct ligation (BDL) would be reduced in TNFalpha knockout mice (TNFalpha-/-). Survival after BDL was 60% in wild-type mice (TNFalpha+/+) and 90% in TNFalpha-/- mice. Body weight loss and liver to body weight ratios were reduced in TNFalpha-/- mice compared to TNFalpha+/+ mice. Following BDL, serum alanine transaminases (ALT) levels were elevated in TNFalpha+/+ mice (268.6+/-28.2U/L) compared to TNFalpha-/- mice (105.9U/L+/-24.4). TNFalpha-/- mice revealed lower hepatic collagen expression and less liver fibrosis in the histology. Further, alpha-smooth muscle actin, an indicator for activated myofibroblasts, and TGF-beta mRNA, a profibrogenic cytokine, were markedly reduced in TNFalpha-/- mice compared to TNFalpha+/+ mice. Thus, our data indicate that TNFalpha induces hepatotoxicity and promotes fibrogenesis in the BDL model.

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