Presentation_1_Rapamycin Upregulates Connective Tissue Growth Factor Expression in Hepatic Progenitor Cells Through TGF-β-Smad2 Dependent Signaling.PDF (311.6 kB)

Presentation_1_Rapamycin Upregulates Connective Tissue Growth Factor Expression in Hepatic Progenitor Cells Through TGF-β-Smad2 Dependent Signaling.PDF

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posted on 08.08.2018, 09:17 by Yu Wu, Wei Wang, Xiang-mei Peng, Yi He, Yi-xiao Xiong, Hui-fang Liang, Liang Chu, Bi-xiang Zhang, Ze-yang Ding, Xiao-ping Chen

Rapamycin (sirolimus) is a mTOR kinase inhibitor and is widely used as an immunosuppressive drug to prevent graft rejection in organ transplantation currently. However, some recent investigations have reported that it had profibrotic effect in the progression of organ fibrosis, and its precise role in the liver fibrosis is still poorly understood. Here we showed that rapamycin upregulated connective tissue growth factor (CTGF) expression at the transcriptional level in hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs). Using lentivirus-mediated small hairpin RNA (shRNA) we demonstrated that knockdown of mTOR, Raptor, or Rictor mimicked the effect of rapamycin treatment. Mechanistically, inhibition of mTOR activity with rapamycin resulted in a hyperactive PI3K-Akt pathway, whereas this activation inhibited the expression of CTGF in HPCs. Besides, rapamycin activated the TGF-β-Smad signaling, and TGF-β receptor type I (TGFβRI) serine/threonine kinase inhibitors completely blocked the effects of rapamycin on HPCs. Moreover, Smad2 was involved in the induction of CTGF through rapamycin-activated TGF-β-Smad signaling as knockdown completely blocked CTGF induction, while knockdown of Smad4 expression partially inhibited induction, whereas Smad3 knockdown had no effect. Rapamycin also induced ROS generation and latent TGF-β activation which contributed to TGF-β-Smad signaling. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that rapamycin upregulates CTGF in HPCs and suggests that rapamycin has potential fibrotic effect in liver.

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