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Surgery. 2019 Jan 24. pii: S0039-6060(18)30827-4. doi: 10.1016/j.surg.2018.12.003. [Epub ahead of print]

Divergent expression of liver transforming growth factor superfamily cytokines after successful portoenterostomy in biliary atresia.

Author information

1
Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Transplantation Surgery, Pediatric Liver and Gut Research Group, Children's Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland. Electronic address: anna.kerola@helsinki.fi.
2
Pathology, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.
3
Pediatric Surgery and Pediatric Transplantation Surgery, Pediatric Liver and Gut Research Group, Children's Hospital, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.
4
Pediatric Nephrology and Transplantation, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Finland.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Pathogenesis of progressive liver fibrosis in biliary atresia after successful portoenterostomy remains unclear. We related hepatic expression of transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) superfamily cytokines to histologic liver injury after successful portoenterostomy.

METHODS:

Enrolled in our study were 28 patients with biliary atresia who had liver biopsies obtained during and after successful portoenterostomy, which normalized serum bilirubin (<20 µmol/l). Biopsies were evaluated for cholestasis, inflammation, ductal reaction, and fibrosis and were stained immunohistochemically for transforming growth factor beta 1, transforming growth factor beta 2, connective tissue growth factor, and decorin. Respective gene expression (TGFB1, TGFB2, TGFB3, CTGF, DCN) was analyzed at follow-up using quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Results were compared with fibrotic and healthy control livers.

RESULTS:

After median follow-up of 3.0 years, histologic cholestasis resolved, whereas fibrosis had progressed only in isolated biliary atresia. Liver protein expression of transforming growth factor beta 1 and connective tissue growth factor (P < .001 for both), but not that of transforming growth factor beta 2 or decorin, decreased after successful portoenterostomy, although expression of all four cytokines remained elevated. In accordance with postportoenterostomy changes in protein expression, follow-up ribonucleic acid expression of TGFB2 and DCN, but not that of TGFB1 and CTGF, was upregulated when compared with the controls. Both protein and gene expression of transforming growth factor beta 1 and protein expression of transforming growth factor beta 2, connective tissue growth factor and decorin correlated with METAVIR fibrosis stage. Syndromic patients (n = 12) showed milder fibrosis and lower transforming growth factor beta 1 expression than patients with isolated biliary atresia.

CONCLUSION:

These findings support a central role of transforming growth factor beta superfamily in mediating continuing liver fibrogenesis after successful portoenterostomy. Transforming growth factor beta pathway cytokines responded divergently to clearance of jaundice, which was reflected by differential progression of fibrosis between syndromic and isolated patients.

PMID:
30686515
DOI:
10.1016/j.surg.2018.12.003

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