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Hepatology. 2018 May;67(5):1903-1919. doi: 10.1002/hep.29652. Epub 2018 Mar 25.

β-Catenin and interleukin-1β-dependent chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 10 production drives progression of disease in a mouse model of congenital hepatic fibrosis.

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Section of Digestive Diseases, Liver Center, Yale University, New Haven, CT.
International Center for Digestive Health, University of Milan-Bicocca, Milan, Italy.
Department of Molecular Medicine, University of Padua, School of Medicine, Padua, Italy.


Congenital hepatic fibrosis (CHF), a genetic disease caused by mutations in the polycystic kidney and hepatic disease 1 (PKHD1) gene, encoding for the protein fibrocystin/polyductin complex, is characterized by biliary dysgenesis, progressive portal fibrosis, and a protein kinase A-mediated activating phosphorylation of β-catenin at Ser675. Biliary structures of Pkhd1del4/del4 mice, a mouse model of CHF, secrete chemokine (C-X-C motif) ligand 10 (CXCL10), a chemokine able to recruit macrophages. The aim of this study was to clarify whether CXCL10 plays a pathogenetic role in disease progression in CHF/Caroli disease and to understand the mechanisms leading to increased CXCL10 secretion. We demonstrate that treatment of Pkhd1del4/del4 mice for 3 months with AMG-487, an inhibitor of CXC chemokine receptor family 3, the cognate receptor of CXCL10, reduces the peribiliary recruitment of alternative activated macrophages (cluster of differentiation 45+ F4/80+ cells), spleen size, liver fibrosis (sirius red), and cyst growth (cytokeratin 19-positive area), consistent with a pathogenetic role of CXCL10. Furthermore, we show that in fibrocystin/polyductin complex-defective cholangiocytes, isolated from Pkhd1del4/del4 mice, CXCL10 production is mediated by Janus kinase/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 in response to interleukin 1beta (IL-1β) and β-catenin. Specifically, IL-1β promotes signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 phosphorylation, whereas β-catenin promotes its nuclear translocation. Increased pro-IL-1β was regulated by nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells, and increased secretion of active IL-1β was mediated by the activation of Nod-like receptors, pyrin domain containing 3 inflammasome (increased expression of caspase 1 and Nod-like receptors, pyrin domain containing 3).


In fibrocystin/polyductin complex-defective cholangiocytes, β-catenin and IL-1β are responsible for signal transducer and activator of transcription 3-dependent secretion of CXCL10; in vivo experiments show that the CXCL10/CXC chemokine receptor family 3 axis prevents the recruitment of macrophages, reduces inflammation, and halts the progression of the disease; the increased production of IL-1β highlights the autoinflammatory nature of CHF and may open novel therapeutic avenues. (Hepatology 2018;67:1903-1919).

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