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PLoS One. 2013;8(2):e55979. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0055979. Epub 2013 Feb 18.

PKCδ as a regulator for TGFβ1-induced α-SMA production in a murine nonalcoholic steatohepatitis model.

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School of Life Sciences, College of Natural Sciences, Kyungpook National University, Daegu, Korea.


The precise mechanism of TGFβ1 signaling in the progression of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) has remained unclear. In particular, a potential regulatory mechanism by which PKCδ affects profibrogenic gene expression had never been explored. In this study, therefore, the role of PKCδ in TGFβ1 mediated α-SMA expression was investigated using NASH model mice. In preparation of the NASH model, male C57BL6/J mice were fed a methionine-choline-deficient (MCD) diet for 3 weeks, after which time they were intraperitoneally injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). In addition, Tlr4(Lps-d) (CH3/HeJ) mice were used to demonstrate the TGFβ1 signaling's dependency on TLR4 induction. Liver histology and hepatic hepatitis markers were investigated, and hepatic gene expression levels were determined by real-time PCR. Acute liver injury by LPS injection specifically elevated not only α-SMA expression but also phospho-PKCδ in this model. In contrast, Tlr4(Lps-d) (CH3/HeJ) and blockade of TGFβ1 receptor by SB431542 resulted in a significant reduction of PKCδ activation and α-SMA expression. Moreover, the TGFβ1-induced α-SMA production was significantly reduced by a specific PKCδ inhibitor. These findings suggested that PKCδ plays a critical role in TGFβ1-induced α-SMA production in a NASH model. Thus, this was the first demonstration of the involvement of PKCδ in the regulation of α-SMA expression in NASH liver tissues, and the impaired induction of PKCδ phosphorylation by LPS in a steatohepatitis condition. Interestingly, treatment by PKCδ inhibitor caused dramatic reduction of myofibroblast activation, indicating that PKCδ represents a promising target for treating NASH.

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