Quiescent hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), in response to liver injury, undergo characteristic morphological transformation into proliferative, contractile and ECM-producing myofibroblasts. In this study, we investigated the implication of canonical Wnt signaling pathway in HSCs and liver fibrogenesis. Canonical Wnt signaling pathway activation and inhibition using β-catenin/CBP inhibitor ICG001 was examined in-vitro in TGFβ-activated 3T3, LX2, primary human HSCs, and in-vivo in CCl4-induced acute liver injury mouse model. Fibroblasts-conditioned medium studies were performed to assess the Wnt-regulated paracrine factors involved in crosstalk between HSCs-macrophages and HSCs-endothelial cells. Canonical Wnt signaling pathway components were significantly up-regulated in-vitro and in-vivo. In-vitro, ICG-001 significantly inhibited fibrotic parameters, 3D-collagen contractility and wound healing. Conditioned medium induced fibroblasts-mediated macrophage and endothelial cells activation was significantly inhibited by ICG-001. In-vivo, ICG-001 significantly attenuated collagen accumulation and HSC activation. Interestingly, ICG-001 drastically inhibited macrophage infiltration, intrahepatic inflammation and angiogenesis. We further analyzed the paracrine factors involved in Wnt-mediated effects and found CXCL12 was significantly suppressed both in-vitro and in-vivo following Wnt inhibition. Wnt-regulated CXCL12 secretion from activated HSCs potentiated macrophage infiltration and activation, and angiogenesis. Pharmacological inhibition of canonical Wnt signaling pathway via suppression of stromal CXCL12 suggests a potential therapeutic approach targeting activated HSCs in liver fibrosis.
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Biochimica et biophysica acta. Molecular basis of disease|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2018|
- Intrahepatic inflammation
- Liver fibrosis
- Wnt signaling pathway