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J Pathol. 2019 Jan;247(1):99-109. doi: 10.1002/path.5172. Epub 2018 Nov 27.

COL6A3-derived endotrophin links reciprocal interactions among hepatic cells in the pathology of chronic liver disease.

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Department of Biological Sciences, School of Life Sciences, Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, Ulsan, South Korea.
National Research Laboratory for Mitochondrial Signaling, Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Center, Inje University, Busan, South Korea.
Touchstone Diabetes Center, Departments of Internal Medicine and Cell Biology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA.


Extracellular matrix dysregulation is associated with chronic liver disease. CollagenVI-alpha3 chain (COL6A3) is a biomarker for hepatic fibrosis and poor prognosis of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), but its function in liver pathology remains unknown. High levels of COL6A3 and its cleaved product, endotrophin (ETP) in tumor-neighboring regions are strongly associated with poor prognosis in HCC patients. Here, we report that the high levels of ETP in injured hepatocytes induce JNK-dependent hepatocyte apoptosis and activate nonparenchymal cells to lead further activation of hepatic inflammation, fibrosis, and apoptosis. Nevertheless ETP per se showed limited phenotypic changes in normal liver tissues. Furthermore, inhibition of ETP activity by utilizing neutralizing antibodies efficiently suppressed the pathological consequences in chronic liver diseases. Our results implicate ETP mechanistically as a crucial mediator in reciprocal interactions among various hepatic cell populations in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease, and it could be a promising therapeutic target particularly in individuals with high local levels of COL6A3. Copyright © 2018 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.


JNK pathway; apoptosis; chronic liver disease; collagen VI A3; endotrophin; fibrosis; inflammation; pathology


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