Send to

Choose Destination
Gastroenterology. 2012 Jan;142(1):130-139.e4. doi: 10.1053/j.gastro.2011.09.033. Epub 2011 Sep 21.

Liver fibrosis protects mice from acute hepatocellular injury.

Author information

Laboratoire d'Hépatologie Cellulaire du Centre de Recherche du CHUM-Hôpital Saint-Luc, Montréal, Québec, Canada.



Development of fibrosis is part of the pathophysiologic process of chronic liver disease. Although it is considered deleterious, it also represents a form of tissue repair. Deposition of extracellular matrix changes the cellular environment of the liver; we investigated whether it increases resistance to noxious stimuli and the role of changes in intracellular signaling to hepatocytes in mediating this effect.


Primary cultures of mouse hepatocytes were exposed to type I collagen (COL1); cell injury was assessed by morphologic and biochemical criteria. The expression of Bcl-2 family members was evaluated by immunoblot analyses. Activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) was assessed using phospho-specific antibodies. Liver fibrosis was induced by repeated administration of thioacetamide or carbon tetrachloride to mice; mice were then exposed to Fas antibodies.


Hepatocytes exposed to COL1 were more resistant to a variety of hepatotoxins, in a dose-dependent manner, and had lower levels of Bad, Bid, and Bax proapoptotic proteins compared with control hepatocytes. Activation of ERK1/2 was stronger and quicker in hepatocytes exposed to COL1. The MEK1/2 inhibitors U0126 and PD98059 reversed the protective effects of COL1 and the decrease in proapoptotic proteins. Hepatocytes isolated from ERK1(-/-) mice were insensitive to the protective effect of COL1. Fibrotic livers from wild-type mice had high levels of phospho-ERK1 and were resistant to Fas-induced cell death. ERK1(-/-) mice lost this effect.


Production of COL1 during liver fibrosis induces a hepatoprotective response that is mediated by activation of ERK1 signaling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Publication type, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Publication type

MeSH terms


Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center