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Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2014 Oct 15;307(8):G813-23. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00188.2014. Epub 2014 Aug 28.

Knockout of histidine decarboxylase decreases bile duct ligation-induced biliary hyperplasia via downregulation of the histidine decarboxylase/VEGF axis through PKA-ERK1/2 signaling.

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Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas;
Central Texas Veterans Health Care System, Temple, Texas; Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas; Texas A&M Health Science Center, Temple, Texas;
Texas A&M Health Science Center, Temple, Texas;
Scott & White Healthcare, Temple, Texas;
Yamagata University, Department of Gastroenterology, Yamagata, Japan; and CREST, Japan Science and Technology Corporation, Tokyo, Japan.


Histidine is converted to histamine by histidine decarboxylase (HDC). We have shown that cholangiocytes 1) express HDC, 2) secrete histamine, and 3) proliferate after histamine treatment via ERK1/2 signaling. In bile duct-ligated (BDL) rodents, there is enhanced biliary hyperplasia, HDC expression, and histamine secretion. This studied aimed to demonstrate that knockdown of HDC inhibits biliary proliferation via downregulation of PKA/ERK1/2 signaling. HDC(-/-) mice and matching wild-type (WT) were subjected to sham or BDL. After 1 wk, serum, liver blocks, and cholangiocytes were collected. Immunohistochemistry was performed for 1) hematoxylin and eosin, 2) intrahepatic bile duct mass (IBDM) by cytokeratin-19, and 3) HDC biliary expression. We measured serum and cholangiocyte histamine levels by enzyme immunoassay. In total liver or cholangiocytes, we studied: 1) HDC and VEGF/HIF-1α expression and 2) PCNA and PKA/ERK1/2 protein expression. In vitro, cholangiocytes were stably transfected with shRNA-HDC plasmids (or control). After transfection we evaluated pPKA, pERK1/2, and cholangiocyte proliferation by immunoblots and MTT assay. In BDL HDC(-/-) mice, there was decreased IBDM, PCNA, VEGF, and HDC expression compared with BDL WT mice. Histamine levels were decreased in BDL HDC(-/-). BDL HDC(-/-) livers were void of necrosis and inflammation compared with BDL WT. PKA/ERK1/2 protein expression (increased in WT BDL) was lower in BDL HDC(-/-) cholangiocytes. In vitro, knockdown of HDC decreased proliferation and protein expression of PKA/ERK1/2 compared with control. In conclusion, loss of HDC decreases BDL-induced biliary mass and VEGF/HIF-1α expression via PKA/ERK1/2 signaling. Our data suggest that HDC is a key regulator of biliary proliferation.


BDL; HDC knockout; cholangiocyte; histamine; proliferation

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