Lookup NU author(s): Dr Olivier Govaere
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).
Hepatic progenitor cells (HPCs) are small cells with a relative large oval nucleus and a scanty cytoplasm situated in the canals of Hering that express markers of (immature) hepatocytes and cholangiocytes. HPCs are present in large numbers in alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH), one of the leading causes of chronic liver disease. To date, the mechanisms responsible for proliferation and differentiation of human HPCs are still poorly understood and the role of HPCs in ASH development is unknown. In this study, we aimed to characterise human HPCs and their interactions with other cells through comparison, on both protein and RNA level, of HPC-enriched cell populations from adult human liver tissue using different isolation methods. Fresh human liver tissue was collected from ASH explant livers and HPC-enriched cell populations were obtained via four different isolation methods: side population (SP), epithelial cell adhesion molecule (EpCAM) and trophoblast antigen 2 (TROP-2) membrane marker isolation and laser capture microdissection. Gene expression profiles of fluorescent-activated cell-sorted HPCs, whole liver extracts and laser microdissected HPC niches were determined by RNA-sequencing. Immunohistochemical evaluation of the isolated populations indicated the enrichment of HPCs in the SP, EpCAM + and TROP-2 + cell populations. Pathway analysis of the transcription profiles of human HPCs showed an enrichment and activation of known HPC pathways like Wnt/β-catenin, TWEAK and HGF. Integration of the HPC niche profile suggests autocrine signalling by HPCs (TNFα, PDGFB and VEGFA) as well as paracrine signalling from the surrounding niche cells including MIF and IGF-1. In addition, we identified IL-17 A signalling as a potentially novel pathway in HPC biology. In conclusion, we provide the first RNA-seq-based, comparative transcriptome analysis of isolated human HPCs from ASH patients and revealed active signalling between HPCs and their surrounding niche cells in ASH livers and suggest that HPCs can actively contribute to liver inflammation.
Author(s): Ceulemans A, Verhulst S, Van Haele M, Govaere O, Ventura J-J, Van Grunsven LA, Roskams T
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Cell Death and Disease
Online publication date: 02/11/2017
Acceptance date: 05/09/2017
Date deposited: 21/11/2017
ISSN (print): 2041-4889
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
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