DNA and cell biology

Gremlin1 Accelerates Hepatic Stellate Cell Activation Through Upregulation of TGF-Beta Expression.

PMID 28467108


Gremlin1, the antagonist of bone morphogenetic protein-7 and one of the target genes of transforming growth factor (TGF)-β signal pathway, plays an important role in embryonic development and its expression decreases along with aging. To explore the expression of gremlin1 in liver fibrosis and the causal link between gremlin1 and hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, we detected the expression of gremlin1 in mice with hepatic fibrosis induced by porcine serum using real time quantitative PCR (RT-qPCR) and immunohistochemical staining. The hepatic fibrosis mice were evaluated by the external feature of the liver, histology, hepatic function, collagen deposition, and the expression of fibrosis-related genes (genes COLIα2 and COLIVα2) in the liver. In the HSC-T6, western blotting was used to analyze the expression of α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA), COL1α, and TGF-β1 in conditions of overexpression of gremlin1 or gremlin1 being knocked down by specific siRNA, respectively. The results showed that the mRNA expression of the gremlin1 gene was significantly increased consistent with increased expression of COLIα2 and COLIVα2 in the liver tissue of the hepatic fibrosis mice. Increased expression of gremlin1 coincided with the same area of the collagen deposition. Furthermore, the results also showed that the expression of α-SMA, COLIα1, and TGF-β1 was consistent with the expression of gremlin1 not only in the HSC-T6 overexpressing gremlin1 but also in the HSC-T6 that gremlin1 is knocked down by specific siRNA. The findings suggest that gremlin1 might play an important role in the progression of hepatic fibrosis and that it modulates HSC activation.