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J Hepatol. 2011 Aug;55(2):399-406. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2010.11.025. Epub 2010 Dec 13.

Ethanol-stimulated differentiated functions of human or mouse hepatic stellate cells are mediated by connective tissue growth factor.

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  • 1Center for Clinical and Translational Research, The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH 43205, United States.

Abstract

BACKGROUND & AIMS:

Connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression is intimately associated with hepatic fibrotic pathophysiology. In this study, CTGF production and action was investigated in ethanol-treated mouse primary hepatic stellate cells (HSC) or human LX-2 cells.

METHODS:

CTGF, transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-β1), alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) or collagen α1(I) mRNA were quantified by real-time PCR after treatment of HSC with ethanol or acetaldehyde. CTGF protein production was assessed by immunoprecipitation or ELISA. Ethanol-stimulated CTGF transcription was investigated using CTGF promoter reporter constructs. The TGF-β1- or CTGF-dependency of ethanol-induced CTGF, α-SMA, or collagen α1(I) was determined using small interfering RNA (siRNA) to TGF-β1 or CTGF.

RESULTS:

In human steatohepatitis, CTGF was produced by presumptive activated HSC. In cultured human or mouse HSC, production of CTGF, α-SMA and/or collagen was increased by ethanol treatment, an effect mimicked by acetaldehyde and blocked by 4-methylpyrazole (4-MP) or N-acetylcysteine (NAC). CTGF promoter activity was stimulated in a sustained fashion by ethanol or TGF-β1. Mutation of the Smad site or basal control element (BCE-1) in the CTGF promoter caused a 5-fold reduction in ethanol-stimulated CTGF promoter activity. Administration of TGF-β1 siRNA or CTGF siRNA significantly decreased ethanol- or acetaldehyde-stimulated mRNA or protein levels of CTGF, α-SMA or collagen I in LX-2 cells. In mouse HSC, TGF-β1- or ethanol-stimulated CTGF, α-SMA or collagen I were significantly attenuated by CTGF siRNA.

CONCLUSIONS:

Ethanol-induced α-SMA or collagen α1(I) in HSC are mediated via TGF-β-dependent CTGF production, highlighting potential therapeutic benefits of targeting CTGF in alcoholic liver disease.

PMID:
21156189
PMCID:
PMC3136646
DOI:
10.1016/j.jhep.2010.11.025
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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