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Hepatol Res. 2014 May;44(5):571-83. doi: 10.1111/hepr.12157. Epub 2013 Jun 9.

Interleukin-1β induces tumor necrosis factor-α secretion from rat hepatocytes.

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Department of Biomedical Sciences, College of Life Sciences, Shiga, Japan.



Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) is a pleiotropic cytokine involved in various inflammatory diseases. The only production of TNF-α in the liver is thought to be from hepatic macrophages known as Kupffer cells, predominantly in response to bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS).


Primary cultured rat hepatocytes were used to analyze TNF-α expression in response to the pro-inflammatory cytokine, interleukin-1β (IL-1β). Livers of rats subjected to LPS-induced endotoxemia were analyzed.


Immunocytochemistry and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays demonstrated that IL-1β-treated rat hepatocytes secreted TNF-α, and RNA analyses indicated that TNF-α mRNA was induced specifically by IL-1β. Northern blot analysis showed that not only mRNA, but also a natural antisense transcript (asRNA), was transcribed from the rat Tnf gene in IL-1β-treated hepatocytes. TNF-α was detected in the hepatocytes of LPS-treated rats. Both TNF-α mRNA and asRNA were expressed in the hepatocytes of LPS-treated rats, human hepatocellular carcinoma and human monocyte/macrophage cells. To disrupt the interaction between TNF-α asRNA and TNF-α mRNA, sense oligonucleotides corresponding to TNF-α mRNA were introduced into rat hepatocytes resulting in significantly increased levels of TNF-α mRNA. One of these sense oligonucleotides increased a half-life of TNF-α mRNA, suggesting that the TNF-α asRNA may reduce the stability of TNF-α mRNA.


IL-1β-stimulated rat hepatocytes are a newly identified source of TNF-α in the liver. TNF-α mRNA and asRNA are expressed in rats and humans, and the TNF-α asRNA reduces the stability of the TNF-α mRNA. Hepatocytes and TNF-α asRNA may be therapeutic targets to regulate levels of TNF-α mRNA.


antisense transcript; cancer; gene expression; inflammation; mRNA stability


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