Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 2016 05 3;310(9):G739-46. Epub 2016 Mar 3.
Division of Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease, Research Center for Liver Disease, Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California.
In liver injury, recruitment of bone marrow (BM) progenitors of liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (sprocs) is necessary for normal liver regeneration. Hepatic vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) is a central regulator of the recruitment process. We examine whether stromal cell-derived factor 1 [sdf1, or CXC ligand 12 (CXCL12)] acts downstream from VEGF to mediate recruitment of BM sprocs, what the sdf1 receptor type [CXC receptor (CXCR)-4 or CXCR7] is on sprocs, and whether sdf1 signaling is required for normal liver regeneration. Studies were performed in the rat partial hepatectomy model. Tracking studies of BM sprocs were performed in wild-type Lewis rats that had undergone BM transplantation from transgenic enhanced green fluorescent protein-positive Lewis rats. Knockdown studies were performed using antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs). Expression of sdf1 doubles in liver and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs) after partial hepatectomy. Upregulation of sdf1 expression increases proliferation of sprocs in the BM, mobilization of CXCR7(+) BM sprocs to the circulation, and engraftment of CXCR7(+) BM sprocs in the liver and promotes liver regeneration. Knockdown of hepatic VEGF with ASOs decreases hepatic sdf1 expression and plasma sdf1 levels. When the effect of VEGF knockdown on sdf1 is offset by infusion of sdf1, VEGF knockdown-induced impairment of BM sproc recruitment after partial hepatectomy is completely attenuated and liver regeneration is normalized. These data demonstrate that the VEGF-sdf1 pathway regulates recruitment of CXCR7(+) BM sprocs to the hepatic sinusoid after partial hepatectomy and is required for normal liver regeneration.