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Lab Invest. 2014 Feb;94(2):192-207. doi: 10.1038/labinvest.2013.135. Epub 2013 Dec 2.

Cytoglobin is expressed in hepatic stellate cells, but not in myofibroblasts, in normal and fibrotic human liver.

Author information

1
Department of Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.
2
Department of Biological Function, Faculty of Science, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan.
3
1] Department of Hepatology, Graduate School of Medicine, Osaka City University, Osaka, Japan [2] PhoenixBio, Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima, Japan.

Abstract

Cytoglobin (CYGB) is ubiquitously expressed in the cytoplasm of fibroblastic cells in many organs, including hepatic stellate cells. As yet, there is no specific marker with which to distinguish stellate cells from myofibroblasts in the human liver. To investigate whether CYGB can be utilized to distinguish hepatic stellate cells from myofibroblasts in normal and fibrotic human liver, human liver tissues damaged by infection with hepatitis C virus (HCV) and at different stages of fibrosis were obtained by liver biopsy. Immunohistochemistry was performed on histological sections of liver tissues using antibodies against CYGB, cellular retinol-binding protein-1 (CRBP-1), α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), thymocyte differentiation antigen 1 (Thy-1), and fibulin-2 (FBLN2). CYGB- and CRBP-1-positive cells were counted around fibrotic portal tracts in histological sections of the samples. The expression of several of the proteins listed above was examined in cultured mouse stellate cells. Quiescent stellate cells, but not portal myofibroblasts, expressed both CYGB and CRBP-1 in normal livers. In fibrotic and cirrhotic livers, stellate cells expressed both CYGB and α-SMA, whereas myofibroblasts around the portal vein expressed α-SMA, Thy-1, and FBLN2, but not CYGB. Development of the fibrotic stage was positively correlated with increases in Sirius red-stained, α-SMA-positive, and Thy-1-positive areas, whereas the number of CYGB- and CRBP-1-positive cells decreased with fibrosis development. Primary cultured mouse stellate cells expressed cytoplasmic CYGB at day 1, whereas they began to express α-SMA at the cellular margins at day 4. Thy-1 was undetectable throughout the culture period. In human liver tissues, quiescent stellate cells are CYGB positive. When activated, they also become α-SMA positive; however, they are negative for Thy-1 and FBLN2. Thus, CYGB is a useful marker with which to distinguish stellate cells from portal myofibroblasts in the damaged human liver.

PMID:
24296877
DOI:
10.1038/labinvest.2013.135
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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