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Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2010 Jun;42(6):948-57. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2010.02.006. Epub 2010 Feb 13.

Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors gamma reverses hepatic nutritional fibrosis in mice and suppresses activation of hepatic stellate cells in vitro.

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Institute of Digestive Disease and Department of Medicine and Therapeutics, Li Ka Shing Institute of Health Sciences, the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China.


Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with fibrosis is a more severe form of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, one of the most common liver diseases. We have previously shown that peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors gamma (PPARgamma) ligand, rosiglitazone, prevented the development of the methionine choline deficient (MCD) diet-induced fibrosing steatohepatitis. We have now tested whether overexpression of PPARgamma ameliorates established steatohepatitis and fibrosis. Male C57BL6 mice fed with MCD diet for 8 weeks developed hepatic fibrosis with increased hepatic expression of collagen1alpha(I), inhibitors of fibrosis reversal-1, regulator involved in matrix degradation-9 and connective tissue growth factor. After 2 weeks of transduction of PPARgamma through an adenovirus-expressing PPARgamma (Ad-PPARgamma), expression of these genes was reduced in a manner that paralleled the reduction in activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and resolution of liver fibrosis. On the in vitro study, PPARgamma is expressed in primary quiescent HSC, but depleted in culture activated HSC. Conversely, ectopic expression of PPARgamma in activated HSC achieved the phenotypic reversal to the quiescent cell. Such induction markedly suppressed cell viability and cell proliferation, downregulated proliferating cell nuclear antigen, and caused cell cycle arrest at G0/G1 phase. Further, introduction of PPARgamma in HSC increased cell apoptosis, this was confirmed by enhanced expression of FasL, cleaved caspase-3, cleaved caspase-7 and poly ADP-ribose polymerase, indicating an extrinsic apoptosis pathway. In conclusion, the present study shows that MCD diet-induced fibrosing steatohepatitis can be reversed by overexpression of PPARgamma. It is likely that PPARgamma reverses fibrosis by reducing HSCs proliferation, inducing cell cycle arrest and apoptosis.

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