Send to

Choose Destination
J Hepatol. 1998 Dec;29(6):915-22.

Expression of different isoforms of TGF-beta and the latent TGF-beta binding protein (LTBP) by rat Kupffer cells.

Author information

Department of Clinical Chemistry and Central Laboratory, Philipps University, Marburg, Germany.



Kupffer cells (liver resident macrophages) make an important contribution to the perpetuation of liver diseases by synthesis and secretion of TGF-beta. In some cell types TGF-beta, is expressed as a large latent complex containing the latent TGF-beta binding protein (LTBP) in addition to the N-terminal TGF-beta precursor (latency associated peptide). This study aimed to identify LTBP expression in rat Kupffer cells.


Cells were isolated from rat liver by collagenase-pronase reperfusion, purified and cultured under standard conditions. TGF-beta and LTBP expression were characterized using alkaline phosphatase-anti-alkaline phosphatase immunostainings, reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and immunoprecipitation of metabolically labeled proteins.


Immunostainings of Kupffer cells with anti-sera against LTBP-1 (ab 39) and LTBP-2 indicated the expression of both LTBP isoforms in addition to the expression of latency associated peptide and TGF-beta. Transcripts of three LTBP isoforms (LTBP-1,-2,-3) and TGF-beta isoforms (TGF-beta-1,-2,-3) were detectable by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The LTBP-1D splice variant missing a part of the proteinase sensitive hinge region which has recently been described in hepatic stellate cells is expressed in Kupffer cells, too. Metabolic labeling of Kupffer cells with [35S]-Met/Cys followed by immunoprecipitation of the conditioned media using antisera against LTBP-1 and LTBP-2 indicated the secretion of high molecular mass TGF-beta complexes containing LTBP proteins of 230 and 170 kDa (LTBP-1) or 230 kDa (LTBP-2).


The results show that Kupffer cells partly synthesize and release TGF-beta as large latent complexes. This requires the extracellular activation of TGF-beta as a prerequisite for receptor binding and cellular signaling.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center