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Brussels, Belgium

Rodrigo-Torres D.,University of Barcelona | Affo S.,University of Barcelona | Coll M.,University of Barcelona | Morales-Ibanez O.,University of Barcelona | And 14 more authors.

Severe liver diseases are characterized by expansion of liver progenitor cells (LPC), which correlates with disease severity. However, the origin and role of LPC in liver physiology and in hepatic injury remains a contentious topic. We found that ductular reaction cells in human cirrhotic livers express hepatocyte nuclear factor 1 homeobox B (HNF1β). However, HNF1β expression was not present in newly generated epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM)-positive hepatocytes. In order to investigate the role of HNF1β-expressing cells we used a tamoxifen-inducible Hnf1βCreER/R26RYfp/LacZ mouse to lineage-trace Hnf1β+ biliary duct cells and to assess their contribution to LPC expansion and hepatocyte generation. Lineage tracing demonstrated no contribution of HNF1β+ cells to hepatocytes during liver homeostasis in healthy mice or after loss of liver mass. After acute acetaminophen or carbon tetrachloride injury no contribution of HNF1β+ cells to hepatocyte was detected. We next assessed the contribution of Hnf1β+-derived cells following two liver injury models with LPC expansion, a diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydro-collidin (DDC)-diet and a choline-deficient ethionine-supplemented (CDE)-diet. The contribution of Hnf1β+ cells to liver regeneration was dependent on the liver injury model. While no contribution was observed after DDC-diet treatment, mice fed with a CDE-diet showed a small population of hepatocytes derived from Hnf1β+ cells that were expanded to 1.86% of total hepatocytes after injury recovery. Genome-wide expression profile of Hnf1β+-derived cells from the DDC and CDE models indicated that no contribution of LPC to hepatocytes was associated with LPC expression of genes related to telomere maintenance, inflammation, and chemokine signaling pathways. Conclusion: HNF1β+ biliary duct cells are the origin of LPC. HNF1β+ cells do not contribute to hepatocyte turnover in the healthy liver, but after certain liver injury, they can differentiate to hepatocytes contributing to liver regeneration. © 2014 by the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases. Source

Boens S.,Catholic University of Leuven | Verbinnen I.,Catholic University of Leuven | Verhulst S.,Liver Cell Biology Laboratory | Szeker K.,Catholic University of Leuven | And 7 more authors.
Stem Cells

The Ppp1r8 gene encodes NIPP1, a nuclear interactor of protein phosphatase PP1. The deletion of NIPP1 is embryonic lethal at the gastrulation stage, which has hampered its functional characterization in adult tissues. Here, we describe the effects of a conditional deletion of NIPP1 in mouse liver epithelial cells. Ppp1r8-/- livers developed a ductular reaction, that is, bile-duct hyperplasia with associated fibrosis. The increased proliferation of biliary epithelial cells was at least partially due to an expansion of the progenitor cell compartment that was independent of liver injury. Gene-expression analysis confirmed an upregulation of progenitor cell markers in the liver knockout livers but showed no effect on the expression of liver-injury associated regulators of cholangiocyte differentiation markers. Consistent with an inhibitory effect of NIPP1 on progenitor cell proliferation, Ppp1r8-/- livers displayed an increased sensitivity to diet-supplemented 3,5-diethoxycarbonyl-1,4-dihydrocollidine, which also causes bile-duct hyperplasia through progenitor cell expansion. In contrast, the liver knockouts responded normally to injuries (partial hepatectomy, single CCl4 administration) that are restored through proliferation of differentiated parenchymal cells. Our data indicate that NIPP1 does not regulate the proliferation of hepatocytes but is a suppressor of biliary epithelial cell proliferation, including progenitor cells, in the adult liver. © 2016 AlphaMed Press. Source

Van Rossen E.,Liver Cell Biology Laboratory | Liu Z.,Liver Cell Biology Laboratory | Blijweert D.,Liver Cell Biology Laboratory | Eysackers N.,Liver Cell Biology Laboratory | And 9 more authors.
Histochemistry and Cell Biology

Hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) play an important role in several (patho)physiologic conditions in the liver. In response to chronic injury, HSCs are activated and change from quiescent to myofibroblast-like cells with contractile properties. This shift in phenotype is accompanied by a change in expression of intermediate filament (IF) proteins. HSCs express a broad, but variable spectrum of IF proteins. In muscle, syncoilin was identified as an alpha-dystrobre-vin binding protein with sequence homology to IF proteins. We investigated the expression of syncoilin in mouse and human HSCs. Syncoilin expression in isolated and cultured HSCs was studied by qPCR, Western blotting, and fluorescence immunocytochemistry. Syncoilin expression was also evaluated in other primary liver cell types and in in vivo-activated HSCs as well as total liver samples from fibrotic mice and cirrhotic patients. Syncoilin mRNA was present in human and mouse HSCs and was highly expressed in in vitro- and in vivo-activated HSCs. Syncoilin protein was strongly upregulated during in vitro activation of HSCs and undetectable in hepatocytes and liver sinusoidal endothelial cells. Syncoilin mRNA levels were elevated in both CCl4- and common bile duct ligation-treated mice. Syncoilin immunocytochemistry revealed filamentous staining in activated mouse HSCs that partially colocalized with α-smooth muscle actin, β-actin, desmin, and α-tubulin. We show that in the liver, syncoilin is predominantly expressed by activated HSCs and displays very low-expression levels in other liver cell types, making it a good marker of activated HSCs. During in vitro activation of mouse HSCs, syncoilin is able to form filamentous structures or at least to closely interact with existing cellular filaments. © Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013. Source

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