Publications by authors named "Mohammad R Ebrahimkhani"

20 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

TLR4-Dependent Secretion by Hepatic Stellate Cells of the Neutrophil-Chemoattractant CXCL1 Mediates Liver Response to Gut Microbiota.

PLoS One 2016 22;11(3):e0151063. Epub 2016 Mar 22.

Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, 307 North Westlake Avenue, Seattle, Washington, 98109-5219, United States of America.

Background & Aims: The gut microbiota significantly influences hepatic immunity. Little is known on the precise mechanism by which liver cells mediate recognition of gut microbes at steady state. Here we tested the hypothesis that a specific liver cell population was the sensor and we aimed at deciphering the mechanism by which the activation of TLR4 pathway would mediate liver response to gut microbiota.

Methods: Using microarrays, we compared total liver gene expression in WT versus TLR4 deficient mice. We performed in situ localization of the major candidate protein, CXCL1. With an innovative technique based on cell sorting, we harvested enriched fractions of KCs, LSECs and HSCs from the same liver. The cytokine secretion profile was quantified in response to low levels of LPS (1ng/mL). Chemotactic activity of stellate cell-derived CXCL1 was assayed in vitro on neutrophils upon TLR4 activation.

Results: TLR4 deficient liver had reduced levels of one unique chemokine, CXCL1 and subsequent decreased of neutrophil counts. Depletion of gut microbiota mimicked TLR4 deficient phenotype, i.e., decreased neutrophils counts in the liver. All liver cells were responsive to low levels of LPS, but hepatic stellate cells were the major source of chemotactic levels of CXCL1. Neutrophil migration towards secretory hepatic stellate cells required the TLR4 dependent secretion of CXCL1.

Conclusions: Showing the specific activation of TLR4 and the secretion of one major functional chemokine-CXCL1, the homolog of human IL-8-, we elucidate a new mechanism in which Hepatic Stellate Cells play a central role in the recognition of gut microbes by the liver at steady state.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0151063PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4803332PMC
August 2016

Genetically engineering self-organization of human pluripotent stem cells into a liver bud-like tissue using Gata6.

Nat Commun 2016 Jan 6;7:10243. Epub 2016 Jan 6.

Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.

Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) have potential for personalized and regenerative medicine. While most of the methods using these cells have focused on deriving homogenous populations of specialized cells, there has been modest success in producing hiPSC-derived organotypic tissues or organoids. Here we present a novel approach for generating and then co-differentiating hiPSC-derived progenitors. With a genetically engineered pulse of GATA-binding protein 6 (GATA6) expression, we initiate rapid emergence of all three germ layers as a complex function of GATA6 expression levels and tissue context. Within 2 weeks we obtain a complex tissue that recapitulates early developmental processes and exhibits a liver bud-like phenotype, including haematopoietic and stromal cells as well as a neuronal niche. Collectively, our approach demonstrates derivation of complex tissues from hiPSCs using a single autologous hiPSCs as source and generates a range of stromal cells that co-develop with parenchymal cells to form tissues.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/ncomms10243DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4729822PMC
January 2016

Isolation of Non-parenchymal Cells from the Mouse Liver.

Methods Mol Biol 2015 ;1325:3-17

Department of Pathology, University of Washington, Seattle, WA, USA.

Hepatocytes comprise the majority of liver mass and cell number. However, in order to understand liver biology, the non-parenchymal cells (NPCs) must be considered. Herein, a relatively rapid and efficient method for isolating liver NPCs from a mouse is described. Using this method, liver sinusoidal endothelial cells, Kupffer cells, natural killer (NK) and NK-T cells, dendritic cells, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells, and quiescent hepatic stellate cells can be purified. This protocol permits the collection of peripheral blood, intact liver tissue, and hepatocytes, in addition to NPCs. In situ perfusion via the portal vein leads to efficient liver digestion. NPCs are enriched from the resulting single-cell suspension by differential and gradient centrifugation. The NPCs can by analyzed or sorted into highly enriched populations using flow cytometry. The isolated cells are suitable for flow cytometry, protein, and mRNA analyses as well as primary culture.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4939-2815-6_1DOI Listing
July 2016

Cas9 gRNA engineering for genome editing, activation and repression.

Nat Methods 2015 Nov 7;12(11):1051-4. Epub 2015 Sep 7.

Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

We demonstrate that by altering the length of Cas9-associated guide RNA (gRNA) we were able to control Cas9 nuclease activity and simultaneously perform genome editing and transcriptional regulation with a single Cas9 protein. We exploited these principles to engineer mammalian synthetic circuits with combined transcriptional regulation and kill functions governed by a single multifunctional Cas9 protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.3580DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4666719PMC
November 2015

Metabolite profiling and pharmacokinetic evaluation of hydrocortisone in a perfused three-dimensional human liver bioreactor.

Drug Metab Dispos 2015 Jul 29;43(7):1091-9. Epub 2015 Apr 29.

Department of Biological Engineering (U.S., D.R.-B., K.C.R., R.L.D., M.R.E., J.S.W., L.G.G., S.R.T.), Department of Chemistry (S.R.T.), and Department of Mechanical Engineering (L.G.G.), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts; and CN Bio Innovations, Oxford University Begbroke Science Park, Begbroke, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom (E.M.L., D.J.H.)

Endotoxin lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is known to cause liver injury primarily involving inflammatory cells such as Kupffer cells, but few in vitro culture models are applicable for investigation of inflammatory effects on drug metabolism. We have developed a three-dimensional human microphysiological hepatocyte-Kupffer cell coculture system and evaluated the anti-inflammatory effect of glucocorticoids on liver cultures. LPS was introduced to the cultures to elicit an inflammatory response and was assessed by the release of proinflammatory cytokines, interleukin 6 and tumor necrosis factor α. A sensitive and specific reversed-phase-ultra high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time of flight-mass spectrometry method was used to evaluate hydrocortisone disappearance and metabolism at near physiologic levels. For this, the systems were dosed with 100 nM hydrocortisone and circulated for 2 days; hydrocortisone was depleted to approximately 30 nM, with first-order kinetics. Phase I metabolites, including tetrahydrocortisone and dihydrocortisol, accounted for 8-10% of the loss, and 45-52% consisted of phase II metabolites, including glucuronides of tetrahydrocortisol and tetrahydrocortisone. Pharmacokinetic parameters, i.e., half-life, rate of elimination, clearance, and area under the curve, were 23.03 hours, 0.03 hour(-1), 6.6 × 10(-5) l⋅hour(-1), and 1.03 (mg/l)*h, respectively. The ability of the bioreactor to predict the in vivo clearance of hydrocortisone was characterized, and the obtained intrinsic clearance values correlated with human data. This system offers a physiologically relevant tool for investigating hepatic function in an inflamed liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1124/dmd.115.063495DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4468434PMC
July 2015

Aag-initiated base excision repair promotes ischemia reperfusion injury in liver, brain, and kidney.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2014 Nov 27;111(45):E4878-86. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

Departments of Biological Engineering and Biology, Center for Environmental Health Sciences, David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139;

Inflammation is accompanied by the release of highly reactive oxygen and nitrogen species (RONS) that damage DNA, among other cellular molecules. Base excision repair (BER) is initiated by DNA glycosylases and is crucial in repairing RONS-induced DNA damage; the alkyladenine DNA glycosylase (Aag/Mpg) excises several DNA base lesions induced by the inflammation-associated RONS release that accompanies ischemia reperfusion (I/R). Using mouse I/R models we demonstrate that Aag(-/-) mice are significantly protected against, rather than sensitized to, I/R injury, and that such protection is observed across three different organs. Following I/R in liver, kidney, and brain, Aag(-/-) mice display decreased hepatocyte death, cerebral infarction, and renal injury relative to wild-type. We infer that in wild-type mice, Aag excises damaged DNA bases to generate potentially toxic abasic sites that in turn generate highly toxic DNA strand breaks that trigger poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (Parp) hyperactivation, cellular bioenergetics failure, and necrosis; indeed, steady-state levels of abasic sites and nuclear PAR polymers were significantly more elevated in wild-type vs. Aag(-/-) liver after I/R. This increase in PAR polymers was accompanied by depletion of intracellular NAD and ATP levels plus the translocation and extracellular release of the high-mobility group box 1 (Hmgb1) nuclear protein, activating the sterile inflammatory response. We thus demonstrate the detrimental effects of Aag-initiated BER during I/R and sterile inflammation, and present a novel target for controlling I/R-induced injury.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1413582111DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4234618PMC
November 2014

CRISPR transcriptional repression devices and layered circuits in mammalian cells.

Nat Methods 2014 Jul 5;11(7):723-6. Epub 2014 May 5.

1] Synthetic Biology Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. [2] Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. [3] Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.

A key obstacle to creating sophisticated genetic circuits has been the lack of scalable device libraries. Here we present a modular transcriptional repression architecture based on clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) system and examine approaches for regulated expression of guide RNAs in human cells. Subsequently we demonstrate that CRISPR regulatory devices can be layered to create functional cascaded circuits, which provide a valuable toolbox for engineering purposes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nmeth.2969DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4228775PMC
July 2014

Approaches to in vitro tissue regeneration with application for human disease modeling and drug development.

Drug Discov Today 2014 Jun 2;19(6):754-62. Epub 2014 May 2.

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Charles Stark Draper Laboratory, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

Reliable in vitro human disease models that capture the complexity of in vivo tissue behaviors are crucial to gain mechanistic insights into human disease and enable the development of treatments that are effective across broad patient populations. The integration of stem cell technologies, tissue engineering, emerging biomaterials strategies and microfabrication processes, as well as computational and systems biology approaches, is enabling new tools to generate reliable in vitro systems to study the molecular basis of human disease and facilitate drug development. In this review, we discuss these recently developed tools and emphasize opportunities and challenges involved in combining these technologies toward regenerative science.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.drudis.2014.04.017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104173PMC
June 2014

Bioreactor technologies to support liver function in vitro.

Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2014 Apr 5;69-70:132-57. Epub 2014 Mar 5.

Department of Biological Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA; Center for Gynepathology Research, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA. Electronic address:

Liver is a central nexus integrating metabolic and immunologic homeostasis in the human body, and the direct or indirect target of most molecular therapeutics. A wide spectrum of therapeutic and technological needs drives efforts to capture liver physiology and pathophysiology in vitro, ranging from prediction of metabolism and toxicity of small molecule drugs, to understanding off-target effects of proteins, nucleic acid therapies, and targeted therapeutics, to serving as disease models for drug development. Here we provide perspective on the evolving landscape of bioreactor-based models to meet old and new challenges in drug discovery and development, emphasizing design challenges in maintaining long-term liver-specific function and how emerging technologies in biomaterials and microdevices are providing new experimental models.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.addr.2014.02.011DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4144187PMC
April 2014

All-human microphysical model of metastasis therapy.

Stem Cell Res Ther 2013 20;4 Suppl 1:S11. Epub 2013 Dec 20.

The vast majority of cancer mortalities result from distant metastases. The metastatic microenvironment provides unique protection to ectopic tumors as the primary tumors often respond to specific agents. Although significant interventional progress has been made on primary tumors, the lack of relevant accessible model in vitro systems in which to study metastases has plagued metastatic therapeutic development--particularly among micrometastases. A real-time, all-human model of metastatic seeding and cancer cells that recapitulate metastatic growth and can be probed in real time by a variety of measures and challenges would provide a critical window into the pathophysiology of metastasis and pharmacology of metastatic tumor resistance. To achieve this we are advancing our microscale bioreactor that incorporates human hepatocytes, human nonparenchymal liver cells, and human breast cancer cells to mimic the hepatic niche in three dimensions with functional tissue. This bioreactor is instrumented with oxygen sensors, micropumps capable of generating diurnally varying profiles of nutrients and hormones, while enabling real-time sampling. Since the liver is a major metastatic site for a wide variety of carcinomas and other tumors, this bioreactor uniquely allows us to more accurately recreate the human metastatic microenvironment and probe the paracrine effects between the liver parenchyma and metastatic cells. Further, as the liver is the principal site of xenobiotic metabolism, this reactor will help us investigate the chemotherapeutic response within a metabolically challenged liver microenvironment. This model is anticipated to yield markers of metastatic behavior and pharmacologic metabolism that will enable better clinical monitoring, and will guide the design of clinical studies to understand drug efficacy and safety in cancer therapeutics. This highly instrumented bioreactor format, hosting a growing tumor within a microenvironment and monitoring its responses, is readily transferable to other organs, giving this work impact beyond the liver.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/scrt372DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4028965PMC
October 2014

Stimulating healthy tissue regeneration by targeting the 5-HT₂B receptor in chronic liver disease.

Nat Med 2011 Nov 27;17(12):1668-73. Epub 2011 Nov 27.

Fibrosis Laboratory, Liver Group, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK.

Tissue homeostasis requires an effective, limited wound-healing response to injury. In chronic disease, failure to regenerate parenchymal tissue leads to the replacement of lost cellular mass with a fibrotic matrix. The mechanisms that dictate the balance of cell regeneration and fibrogenesis are not well understood. Here we report that fibrogenic hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) in the liver are negative regulators of hepatocyte regeneration. This negative regulatory function requires stimulation of the 5-hydroxytryptamine 2B receptor (5-HT(2B)) on HSCs by serotonin, which activates expression of transforming growth factor β1 (TGF-β1), a powerful suppressor of hepatocyte proliferation, through signaling by mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (ERK) and the transcription factor JunD. Selective antagonism of 5-HT(2B) enhanced hepatocyte growth in models of acute and chronic liver injury. We also observed similar effects in mice lacking 5-HT(2B) or JunD or upon selective depletion of HSCs in wild-type mice. Antagonism of 5-HT(2B) attenuated fibrogenesis and improved liver function in disease models in which fibrosis was pre-established and progressive. Pharmacological targeting of 5-HT(2B) is clinically safe in humans and may be therapeutic in chronic liver disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nm.2490DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3428919PMC
November 2011

Cross-presentation of antigen by diverse subsets of murine liver cells.

Hepatology 2011 Oct;54(4):1379-87

Malaria Program, Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, Seattle, WA, USA.

Unlabelled: Antigen cross-presentation is a principal function of specialized antigen-presenting cells of bone marrow origin such as dendritic cells. Although these cells are sometimes known as "professional" antigen-presenting cells, nonbone marrow-derived cells may also act as antigen-presenting cells. Here, using four-way liver cell isolation and parallel comparison of candidate antigen-presenting cells, we show that, depending on the abundance of antigen-donor cells, different subsets of liver cells could cross-present a hepatocyte-associated antigen. This function was observed in both liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and Kupffer cells even at very low antigen concentration, as well as when using soluble protein. Antigen cross-presentation by liver cells induced efficient CD8+ T-cell proliferation in a similar manner to classical dendritic cells from spleen. However, proliferated cells expressed a lower level of T-cell activation markers and intracellular interferon-gamma levels. In contrast to classical spleen dendritic cells, cross-presentation by liver antigen-presenting cells was predominantly dependent on intercellular adhesion molecule-1.

Conclusion: Hepatic sinusoids are an environment rich in antigen cross-presenting activity. However, the liver's resident antigen-presenting cells cause partial T-cell activation. These results clarify how the liver can act as a primary site of CD8+ T-cell activation, and why immunity against hepatocyte pathogens is sometimes ineffective.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.24508DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3444257PMC
October 2011

The c-Rel subunit of nuclear factor-kappaB regulates murine liver inflammation, wound-healing, and hepatocyte proliferation.

Hepatology 2010 Mar;51(3):922-31

Liver Research Group, Institute of Cellular Medicine, 4th Floor, Cookson Building, Medical School, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, United Kingdom.

Unlabelled: In this study, we determined the role of the nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) subunit c-Rel in liver injury and regeneration. In response to toxic injury of the liver, c-Rel null (c-rel(-/-)) mice displayed a defect in the neutrophilic inflammatory response, associated with impaired induction of RANTES (Regulated upon Activation, Normal T-cell Expressed, and Secreted; also known as CCL5). The subsequent fibrogenic/wound-healing response to both chronic carbon tetrachloride and bile duct ligation induced injury was also impaired and this was associated with deficiencies in the expression of fibrogenic genes, collagen I and alpha-smooth muscle actin, by hepatic stellate cells. We additionally report that c-Rel is required for the normal proliferative regeneration of hepatocytes in response to toxic injury and partial hepatectomy. Absence of c-Rel was associated with blunted and delayed induction of forkhead box M1 (FoxM1) and its downstream targets cyclin B1 and Cdc25C. Furthermore, isolated c-rel(-/-) hepatocytes expressed reduced levels of FoxM1 and a reduced rate of basal and epidermal growth factor-induced DNA synthesis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation revealed that c-Rel binding to the FoxM1 promoter is induced in the regenerating liver.

Conclusion: c-Rel has multiple functions in the control of liver homeostasis and regeneration and is a transcriptional regulator of FoxM1 and compensatory hepatocyte proliferation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/hep.23385DOI Listing
March 2010

Galactosylated LDL nanoparticles: a novel targeting delivery system to deliver antigen to macrophages and enhance antigen specific T cell responses.

Mol Pharm 2009 Sep-Oct;6(5):1506-17

David H. Smith Center for Vaccine Biology and Immunology, The Aab Institute for Biomedical Research, Department of Microbiology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642, USA.

We aim to define the role of Kupffer cells in intrahepatic antigen presentation, using the selective delivery of antigen to Kupffer cells rather than other populations of liver antigen-presenting cells. To achieve this we developed a novel antigen delivery system that can target antigens to macrophages, based on a galactosylated low-density lipoprotein nanoscale platform. Antigen was delivered via the galactose particle receptor (GPr), internalized, degraded and presented to T cells. The conjugation of fluoresceinated ovalbumin (FLUO-OVA) and lactobionic acid with LDL resulted in a substantially increased uptake of FLUO-OVA by murine macrophage-like ANA1 cells in preference to NIH3T3 cells, and by primary peritoneal macrophages in preference to primary hepatic stellate cells. Such preferential uptake led to enhanced proliferation of OVA specific T cells, showing that the galactosylated LDL nanoscale platform is a successful antigen carrier, targeting antigen to macrophages but not to all categories of antigen presenting cells. This system will allow targeted delivery of antigen to macrophages in the liver and elsewhere, addressing the question of the role of Kupffer cells in liver immunology. It may also be an effective way of delivering drugs or vaccines directly at macrophages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/mp900081yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2782853PMC
December 2009

Opioid receptor blockade improves mesenteric responsiveness in biliary cirrhosis.

Dig Dis Sci 2008 Nov 9;53(11):3007-11. Epub 2008 May 9.

Department of Pharmacology, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Arterial vasodilation with concomitant hyperdynamic circulation is a common finding in cirrhotic subjects. Elevated levels of plasma endogenous opioid peptides have been reported in cholestasis and cirrhosis. Increased opioid peptides contribute to different manifestations of chronic liver disease such as pruritus, ascitis, and hepatic encephalopathy. In this study the potential role of opioid system in cirrhosis-induced vascular hyporesponsiveness was investigated. Bile duct ligated and sham operated animals received daily subcutaneous administration of naltrexone, an opioid receptor antagonist (20 mg/kg/day), or saline for 28 days. After 4 weeks the superior mesenteric artery was cannulated and was perfused according to McGregor method and then phenylephrine vasoconstrictor response of mesenteric vessels (10(-10) to 10(-6 )mol) was examined. In order to evaluate the effects of acute opioid receptor blockade, additional groups of animals were treated by acute single intraperitoneal naltrexone injection (20 mg/kg). Plasma level of nitrite/nitrate as an indicator for nitric oxide production was measured. Biliary cirrhosis was accompanied with a decrease in baseline perfusion pressure in mesenteric vascular bed (P < 0.01). Chronic opioid receptor blockade significantly increased this parameter (P < 0.01). The maximum pressure response to phenylephrine was decreased significantly in cirrhosis while chronic naltrexone treatment completely improved it (P < 0.01). Acute single injection of naltrexone could not influence the understudied homodynamic parameters. Chronic opioid receptor blockade did not modulate the increased nitrite/nitrate levels following cholestasis. This study provided evidence on the contribution of endogenous opioid system to vascular hyporesponsiveness in cirrhosis which is not directly correlated to high plasma NO levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10620-008-0261-7DOI Listing
November 2008

Wound healing and local neuroendocrine regulation in the injured liver.

Expert Rev Mol Med 2008 Apr 29;10:e11. Epub 2008 Apr 29.

Cell signalling, Liver Group, Institute of Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.

The hepatic wound-healing response is a complex process involving many different cell types and factors. It leads to the formation of excessive matrix and a fibrotic scar, which ultimately disrupts proper functioning of the liver and establishes cirrhosis. Activated hepatic myofibroblasts, which are derived from cells such as hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), play a key role in this process. Upon chronic liver injury, there is an upregulation in the local neuroendocrine system and it has recently been demonstrated that activated HSCs express specific receptors and respond to different components of this system. Neuroendocrine factors and their receptors participate in a complex network that modulates liver inflammation and wound healing, and controls the development and progression of liver fibrosis. The first part of this review provides an overview of the molecular mechanisms governing hepatic wound healing. In the second section, we explore important components of the hepatic neuroendocrine system and their recently highlighted roles in HSC biology and hepatic fibrogenesis. We discuss the therapeutic interventions that are being developed for use in antifibrotic therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S146239940800063XDOI Listing
April 2008

Opioid system blockade decreases collagenase activity and improves liver injury in a rat model of cholestasis.

J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2007 Mar;22(3):406-13

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.

Background: Following bile duct ligation (BDL) endogenous opioids accumulate in plasma and play a role in the pathophysiology and manifestation of cholestasis. Evidence of centrally mediated induction of liver injury by exogenous opioid agonist administration, prompts the question of whether opioid receptor blockade by naltrexone can affect cholestasis-induced liver injury.

Methods: Cholestasis was induced by BDL and cholestatic and sham-operated rats received either naltrexone or saline for 7 consecutive days. On the 7th day, liver samples were collected for determining matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) activity, S-adenosylmethionine (SAM) and S-adenosylhomocysteine (SAH) content and blood samples were obtained for measuring plasma nitrite/nitrate and liver enzyme activities.

Results: Naltrexone-treated BDL animals had a significant reduction in plasma enzyme activity and nitrite/nitrate level. Liver SAM : SAH ratio and SAM level improved by naltrexone treatment in cholestatic animals compared to saline-treated BDL ones. Naltrexone treatment in BDL rats led to a decrease in the level of liver MMP-2 activity, which had already increased during cholestasis.

Conclusion: Opioid receptor blockade improved the degree of liver injury in cholestasis, as assessed by plasma enzyme and liver MMP-2 activities. The beneficial effect of naltrexone may be due to its ability to increase liver SAM level and restore the SAM : SAH ratio.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1440-1746.2006.04260.xDOI Listing
March 2007

Metalloprotein-dependent decomposition of S-nitrosothiols: studies on the stabilization and measurement of S-nitrosothiols in tissues.

Free Radic Biol Med 2006 May 26;40(9):1654-63. Epub 2006 Jan 26.

The UCL Institute of Hepatology, Department of Medicine, Royal Free and University College Medical School, University College London, London NW3 2PF, UK.

The stabilization of S-nitrosothiols is critical for the development of assays to measure their concentration in tissues. Low-molecular-weight S-nitrosothiols are unstable in tissue homogenates, even in the presence of thiol blockers or metal-ion chelators. The aim of this study was to try and stabilize low-molecular-weight S-nitrosothiols in tissue and gain insight into the mechanisms leading to their decomposition. Rat tissues (liver, kidney, heart, and brain) were perfused and homogenized in the presence of a thiol-blocking agent (N-ethylmaleimide) and a metal-ion chelator (DTPA). Incubation of liver homogenate with low-molecular-weight S-nitrosothiols (L-CysNO, D-CysNO, and GSNO) resulted in their rapid decomposition in a temperature-dependent manner as measured by chemiluminescence. The decomposition of L-CysNO requires a cytoplasmic factor, with activity greatest in liver > kidney > heart > brain > plasma, and is inhibitable by enzymatic proteolysis or heating to 80 degrees C, suggesting that a protein catalyzes the decomposition of S-nitrosothiols. The ability of liver homogenate to catalyze the decomposition of L-CysNO is up-regulated during endotoxemia and is dependent on oxygen, with the major product being nitrate. Multiple agents were tested for their ability to block the decomposition of L-CysNO without success, with the exception of potassium ferricyanide, which completely blocked CysNO decomposition in liver homogenates. This suggests that a ferrous protein (or group of ferrous proteins) may be involved. We also show that homogenization of tissues in ferricyanide-containing buffers in the presence of N-ethylmaleimide and DTPA can stabilize both low- and high-molecular-weight S-nitrosothiols in tissues before the measurement of their concentration.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2006.01.004DOI Listing
May 2006

Homocysteine alterations in experimental cholestasis and its subsequent cirrhosis.

Life Sci 2005 Apr;76(21):2497-512

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, P.O. Box 13145-784, Tehran, Iran.

Homocysteine (Hcy), an intermediate in methionine metabolism, has been proposed to be involved in hepatic fibrogenesis. Impaired liver function can alter Hcy metabolism. The aim of the present study was to determine plasma Hcy alterations in acute obstructive cholestasis and the subsequent biliary cirrhosis. Cholestasis was induced by bile duct ligation and sham-operated and unoperated rats were used as controls. The animals were studied on the days 7th, 14th, 21st and 28th after the operation. Plasma Hcy, cysteine, methionine, nitric oxide (NO) and liver S-adenosyl-methionine (SAM), S-adenosyl-homocysteine (SAH), SAM to SAH ratio and glutathione were measured. Chronic L-NAME treatment was also included in the study. Plasma Hcy concentrations were transiently elevated by the day 14th after bile duct ligation (P < 0.01) and subsequently returned to control levels. Similar relative fluctuations in plasma Hcy were observed in BDL rats after intraperitoneal methionine overload. Plasma methionine, cysteine and nitrite and nitrate were significantly increased after bile duct ligation. SAM to SAH ratio was diminished by the 1st week of cholestasis and remained significantly decreased throughout the study. These events were accompanied by a decrease in GSH to GSSG ratio in the liver. Chronic L-NAME treatment improved SAM to SAH ratio and prevented the elevation of plasma Hcy and methionine (P < 0.05) while couldn't influence the other parameters. In conclusion, this study demonstrates alterations in plasma Hcy and liver SAM and SAH contents in precirrhotic stages and in secondary biliary cirrhosis, for the first time. In addition, we observed that plasma Hcy concentrations in BDL rats follow a distinct pattern of alteration from what has been previously reported in other models of cirrhosis. NO overproduction may contribute to plasma Hcy elevation and liver SAM depletion after cholestasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2004.12.009DOI Listing
April 2005

Potentiation of anandamide effects in mesenteric beds isolated from bile duct-ligated rats: role of nitric oxide.

Eur J Pharmacol 2004 Feb;486(1):53-9

Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, P.O.Box 13145-784, Tehran, Iran.

Changes in vascular responsiveness are proposed as the basis for some of the cardiovascular complications in cholestasis. Cholestasis is also associated with accumulation of endogenous opioid peptides and evidence of nitric oxide (NO) overproduction. On the other hand, it is well known that anandamide, an endogenous cannabinoid ligand, causes hypotension and a decrease in systemic vascular resistance. In the present study, the possible role of the cannabinoid system in cholestasis-induced mesenteric vascular bed responsiveness was investigated. Mesenteric arteries of bile duct-ligated and sham-operated rats receiving daily administrations of saline were used for evaluating phenylephrine or anandamide dose-response, acute effects of N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 100 microM), a non-selective inhibitor of NO synthase (NOS), or naltrexone, an opioid receptors antagonist (1 microM). The other groups of bile duct-ligated and sham-operated rats received daily intraperitoneal administration of L-NAME (20 mg/kg/day), aminoguanidine, a selective inducible NOS (iNOS) inhibitor (150 mg/kg/day) or naltrexone (10 mg/kg/day). After 7 days, the superior mesenteric artery was cannulated and the mesenteric vascular bed was perfused according to the McGregor method. Anandamide-induced relaxation was significantly potentiated in mesenteric vascular beds of bile duct-ligated rats. Chronic treatment of bile duct-ligated animals with L-NAME and aminoguanidine blocked this hyperresponsiveness while the hyperresponsiveness was potentiated at large doses of anandamide on chronic treatment of these animals with naltrexone. Although acute L-NAME treatment of mesenteric beds completely blocked the anandamide-induced vasorelaxation in sham-operated rats, this vasorelaxation still was present in bile duct-ligated animals. Anandamide-induced vasorelaxation remained unaffected after acute naltrexone treatment of mesenteric beds in both bile duct-ligated and sham-operated rats. Our results indicate that (1) there is enhanced anandamide-induced vasorelaxation in cholestatic rats, probably due to a defect in cannabinoid or vanilloid receptors and (2) NO overproduction may be involved in cholestasis-induced vascular hyperresponsiveness.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ejphar.2003.12.004DOI Listing
February 2004