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Exp Cell Res. 2011 Apr 15;317(7):1040-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2010.12.026. Epub 2011 Jan 7.

Tumor necrosis factor α stimulates endothelin-1 synthesis in rat hepatic stellate cells in hepatic wound healing through a novel IKK/JNK pathway.

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Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390-8887, USA.


Endothelin-1 (ET-1), a potent vasoconstrictor peptide up-regulated during wound healing and fibrosis, induces myofibroblasts to contract tissue. Here we have used a liver injury model to test the hypothesis that TNFα may be an important stimulator of ET-1 production in hepatic wound healing. We examined primary rat hepatic stellate cells, isolated from either normal or injured livers and used standard methodology to measure preproET-1 mRNA and mature ET-1 peptide, specific kinases, and preproET-1 promoter activity. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis was used to determine basal binding of transcription factors to the preproET-1 promoter. TNFα induced preproET-1 expression in activated hepatic stellate cells in a c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)/AP-1-dependent fashion. TNFα activated JNK through an IκB kinase (IKK) pathway, which activated the transcriptional factor, c-Jun, leading to preproET-1 promoter mediated ET-1 transcription. The TNFα mediated induction of ET-1 synthesis also had functional effects, specifically mediating autocrine induced stellate cell contraction. TNFα stimulated activated stellate cells to produce ET-1 via a novel IKK-JNK-dependent signaling pathway. The resulting autocrine functional effects of ET-1 are likely to be important in the wound-healing process.

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