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Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-related protein 1 (IGFBPrP1) contributes to liver inflammation and fibrosis via activation of the ERK1/2 pathway.

Hepatology international (2015-03-20)
Yarong Guo, Yun Zhang, Qianqian Zhang, Xiaohong Guo, Haiyan Zhang, Guoping Zheng, Lixin Liu
ABSTRACT

Previously, we suggested that IGFBPrP1 played a major role in hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, yet the molecular mechanism of IGFBPrP1 in hepatic fibrosis is unclear. The ERK pathway is involved in activation of HSCs. This study investigated the involvement of the ERK1/2 pathway in IGFBPrP1-induced liver inflammation and fibrosis. An adenoviral vector encoding IGFBPrP1 (AdIGFBPrP1) was constructed. Rats received AdIGFBPrP1 or CAd (vector control) via their tail vein injection. One hour prior to adenoviral injections, rats were intraperitoneally administrated with 10 mg/kg U0126 (a specific MEK/ERK1/2 inhibitor) or DMSO (vehicle control). At weeks 2 or 4 post-gene transduction, serum samples were obtained and the levels of liver enzymes and hydroxyproline were determined. Liver tissue were histologically evaluated for inflammation and fibrosis. The expression of α-SMA and ECM were evaluated by qRT-PCR and western blotting. After transduction, IGFBPrP1 expression significantly increased in livers and transduced cells. MEK/ERK1/2 inhibition administration of AdIGFBPrP1-treated rats and cells significantly blocked AdIGFBPrP1-induced activation of ERK1/2. U0126 significantly down-regulated the number of F4/80-positive cells and CD3-positive cells (markers of liver inflammation), the expression of α-SMA and the concentration of ECM components in vivo. In addition, α-SMA and TGF-β1 levels in AdIGFBPrP1 HSCs were markedly inhibited by a MEK/ERK1/2 inhibitor, indicating that HSC activation was inhibited. These findings suggest that IGFBPrP1 acts as an initiator of liver fibrosis by inducing inflammation, HSC activation and ECM deposition through the ERK1/2 pathway.

MATERIALS
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