Publications

11 Publications visible to you, out of a total of 11

Abstract

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Authors: Christian H. Holland, Ricardo O. Ramirez Flores, Maiju Myllys, Reham Hassan, Karolina Edlund, Ute Hofmann, Rosemarie Marchan, Cristina Cadenas, Jörg Reinders, Stefan Hoehme, Abdel‐latif Seddek, Steven Dooley, Verena Keitel, Patricio Godoy, Brigitte Begher‐Tibbe, Christian Trautwein, Christian Rupp, Sebastian Mueller, Thomas Longerich, Jan G. Hengstler, Julio Saez‐Rodriguez, Ahmed Ghallab

Date Published: 28th Aug 2021

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) is a pleiotropic inflammatory cytokine with anti-fibrotic properties in toxic liver injury models and anti-steatotic functions in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) attributed to the CD74/AMPK signaling pathway. As NAFLD progression is associated with fibrosis, we studied MIF function during NAFLD-associated liver fibrogenesis in mice and men by molecular, histological and immunological methods in vitro and in vivo. After NASH diet feeding, hepatic Mif expression was strongly induced, an effect which was absent in Mif∆hep mice. In contrast to hepatotoxic fibrosis models, NASH diet-induced fibrogenesis was significantly abrogated in Mif−/− and Mif∆hep mice associated with a reduced accumulation of the pro-fibrotic type-I NKT cell subpopulation. In vitro, MIF skewed the differentiation of NKT cells towards the type-I subtype. In line with the murine results, expression of fibrosis markers strongly correlated with MIF, its receptors, and markers of NKT type-I cells in NASH patients. We conclude that MIF expression is induced during chronic metabolic injury in mice and men with hepatocytes representing the major source. In NAFLD progression, MIF contributes to liver fibrogenesis skewing NKT cell polarization toward a pro-fibrotic phenotype highlighting the complex, context-dependent role of MIF during chronic liver injury.

Authors: D. Heinrichs, E. F. Brandt, P. Fischer, Janine Koehncke, Theresa H. Wirtz, N. Guldiken, S. Djudjaj, P. Boor, D.Kroy, R. Weiskirchen, Richard Bucala, H.E. Wasmuth, P. Strnad, Christian Trautwein, J. Bernhagen, M. L. Berres

Date Published: 28th Jan 2021

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: In chronic liver diseases, inflammation induces oxidative stress and thus may contribute to the progression of liver injury, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. The KEAP1/NRF2 axis is a major regulator of cellular redox balance. In the present study, we investigated whether the KEAP1/NRF2 system is involved in liver disease progression in humans and mice. METHODS: The clinical relevance of oxidative stress was investigated by liver RNA sequencing in a well-characterized cohort of patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (n = 63) and correlated with histological and clinical parameters. For functional analysis, hepatocyte-specific Nemo knockout (NEMO(Deltahepa)) mice were crossed with hepatocyte-specific Keap1 knockout (KEAP1(Deltahepa)) mice. RESULTS: Immunohistochemical analysis of human liver sections showed increased oxidative stress and high NRF2 expression in patients with chronic liver disease. RNA sequencing of liver samples in a human pediatric NAFLD cohort revealed a significant increase of NRF2 activation correlating with the grade of inflammation, but not with the grade of steatosis, which could be confirmed in a second adult NASH cohort. In mice, microarray analysis revealed that Keap1 deletion induces NRF2 target genes involved in glutathione metabolism and xenobiotic stress (e.g., Nqo1). Furthermore, deficiency of one of the most important antioxidants, glutathione (GSH), in NEMO(Deltahepa) livers was rescued after deleting Keap1. As a consequence, NEMO(Deltahepa)/KEAP1(Deltahepa) livers showed reduced apoptosis compared to NEMO(Deltahepa) livers as well as a dramatic downregulation of genes involved in cell cycle regulation and DNA replication. Consequently, NEMO(Deltahepa)/KEAP1(Deltahepa) compared to NEMO(Deltahepa) livers displayed decreased fibrogenesis, lower tumor incidence, reduced tumor number, and decreased tumor size. CONCLUSIONS: NRF2 activation in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis correlates with the grade of inflammation, but not steatosis. Functional analysis in mice demonstrated that NRF2 activation in chronic liver disease is protective by ameliorating fibrogenesis, initiation and progression of hepatocellular carcinogenesis. LAY SUMMARY: The KEAP1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein-1)/NRF2 (erythroid 2-related factor 2) axis has a major role in regulating cellular redox balance. Herein, we show that NRF2 activity correlates with the grade of inflammation in patients with non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Functional studies in mice actually show that NRF2 activation, resulting from KEAP1 deletion, protects against fibrosis and cancer.

Authors: A. Mohs, T. Otto, K. M. Schneider, M. Peltzer, M. Boekschoten, C. H. Holland, C. A. Hudert, L. Kalveram, S. Wiegand, J. Saez-Rodriguez, T. Longerich, J. G. Hengstler, C. Trautwein

Date Published: 22nd Dec 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract

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Authors: Theresa H. Wirtz, Philipp A. Reuken, Christian Jansen, Petra Fischer, Irina Bergmann, Christina Backhaus, Christoph Emontzpohl, Johanna Reißing, Elisa F. Brandt, M. Teresa Koenen, Kai M. Schneider, Robert Schierwagen, Maximilian J. Brol, Johannes Chang, Henning W. Zimmermann, Nilay Köse-Vogel, Thomas Eggermann, Ingo Kurth, Christian Stoppe, Richard Bucala, Jürgen Bernhagen, Michael Praktiknjo, Andreas Stallmach, Christian Trautwein, Jonel Trebicka, Tony Bruns, Marie-Luise Berres

Date Published: 1st Dec 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Background & Aims Inflammation in chronic liver diseases induces oxidative stress and thus may contribute to progression of liver injury, fibrosis, and carcinogenesis. The KEAP1/NRF2 axis is a major regulator of cellular redox balance. In the present study, we investigated whether the KEAP1/NRF2 system is involved in liver disease progression in human and mice. Methods The clinical relevance of oxidative stress was investigated in a well-characterized cohort of NAFLD patients (n=63) by liver RNA sequencing and correlated with histological and clinical parameters. For functional analysis hepatocyte-specific NEMO knock-out (NEMO Δhepa) mice were crossed with hepatocyte-specific KEAP1 knock-out (KEAP1 Δhepa) mice. Results Immunohistochemical analysis of human liver sections showed increased oxidative stress and high NRF2 expression in patients with chronic liver disease. RNA sequencing of liver samples in a human pediatric NAFLD cohort revealed a significant increase of NRF2 activation correlating with the grade of inflammation, but not with the grade of steatosis, which could be confirmed in a second adult NASH cohort. In mice, microarray analysis revealed that KEAP1 deletion induces NRF2 target genes involved in glutathione metabolism and xenobiotic stress (e.g., Nqo1). Furthermore, deficiency of one of the most important antioxidants, glutathione (GSH), in NEMO Δhepa livers was rescued after deleting KEAP1. As a consequence, NEMO Δhepa/KEAP1 Δhepa livers showed reduced apoptosis compared to NEMO Δhepa livers as well as a dramatic downregulation of genes involved in cell cycle regulation and DNA replication. Consequently, NEMO Δhepa/KEAP1 Δhepa compared to NEMO Δhepa livers displayed decreased fibrogenesis, lower tumor incidence, reduced tumor number, and decreased tumor size. Conclusions NRF2 activation in NASH patients correlates with the grade of inflammation, but not steatosis. Functional analysis in mice demonstrated that NRF2 activation in chronic liver disease is protective by ameliorating fibrogenesis, initiation and progression of hepatocellular carcinogenesis.

Authors: Antje Mohs, Tobias Otto, Kai Markus Schneider, Mona Peltzer, Mark Boekschoten, Christian H. Holland, Christian A. Hudert, Laura Kalveram, Susanna Wiegand, Julio Saez-Rodriguez, Thomas Longerich, Jan G. Hengstler, Christian Trautwein

Date Published: 1st Oct 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Lipid-based RNA nanocarriers have been recently accepted as a novel therapeutic option in humans, thus increasing the therapeutic options for patients. Tailored nanomedicines will enable to treat chronic liver disease (CLD) and end-stage liver cancer, disorders with high mortality and few treatment options. Here, we investigated the curative potential of gene therapy of a key molecule in CLD, the c-Jun N-terminal kinase-2 (Jnk2). Delivery to hepatocytes was achieved using a lipid-based clinically employable siRNA formulation that includes a cationic aminolipid to knockdown Jnk2 (named siJnk2). After assessing the therapeutic potential of siJnk2 treatment, non-invasive imaging demonstrated reduced apoptotic cell death and improved hepatocarcinogenesis was evidenced by improved liver parenchyma as well as ameliorated markers of hepatic damage, reduced fibrogenesis in 1-year-old mice. Strikingly, chronic siJnk2 treatment reduced premalignant nodules, indicative of tumor initiation. Furthermore, siJnk2 treatment led to a significant activation of the immune cell compartment. In conclusion, Jnk2 knockdown in hepatocytes ameliorated hepatitis, fibrogenesis, and initiation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and hence might be a suitable therapeutic option, to define novel molecular targets for precision medicine in CLD.

Authors: Marius Maximilian Woitok, Miguel Eugenio Zoubek, Dennis Doleschel, Matthias Bartneck, Mohamed Ramadan Mohamed, Fabian Kießling, Wiltrud Lederle, Christian Trautwein, Francisco Javier Cubero

Date Published: 1st May 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Little is known about how liver fibrosis influences lobular zonation. To address this question, we used three mouse models of liver fibrosis, repeated CCl4 administration for 2, 6 and 12 months to induce pericentral damage, as well as bile duct ligation (21 days) and mdr2−/− mice to study periportal fibrosis. Analyses were performed by RNA-sequencing, immunostaining of zonated proteins and image analysis. RNA-sequencing demonstrated a significant enrichment of pericentral genes among genes downregulated by CCl4; vice versa, periportal genes were enriched among the upregulated genes. Immunostaining showed an almost complete loss of pericentral proteins, such as cytochrome P450 enzymes and glutamine synthetase, while periportal proteins, such as arginase 1 and CPS1 became expressed also in pericentral hepatocytes. This pattern of fibrosis-associated ‘periportalization’ was consistently observed in all three mouse models and led to complete resistance to hepatotoxic doses of acetaminophen (200 mg/kg). Characterization of the expression response identified the inflammatory pathways TGFβ, NFκB, TNFα, and transcription factors NFKb1, Stat1, Hif1a, Trp53, and Atf1 among those activated, while estrogen-associated pathways, Hnf4a and Hnf1a, were decreased. In conclusion, liver fibrosis leads to strong alterations of lobular zonation, where the pericentral region adopts periportal features. Beside adverse consequences, periportalization supports adaptation to repeated doses of hepatotoxic compounds.

Authors: Ahmed Ghallab, Maiju Myllys, Christian Holland, Ayham Zaza, Walaa Murad, Reham Hassan, Yasser A Ahmed, Tahany Abbas, Eman Abdelrahim, Kai Markus Schneider, Madlen Matz-Soja, Joerg Reinders, Rolf Gebhardt, Theresa Hildegard Wirtz, Maximilian Hatting, Dirk Drasdo, Julio Saez-Rodriguez, Christian Trautwein, Jan Hengstler

Date Published: 1st Dec 2019

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Two polymorphisms in the promoter region of macrophage migration inhibitory factor (MIF) - rs755622 and rs5844572 - exhibit prognostic relevance in inflammatory diseases. The aim of this study was to investigate a correlation between these MIF promoter polymorphisms and the severity of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced liver fibrosis. Our analysis included two independent patient cohorts with HCV-induced liver fibrosis (504 and 443 patients, respectively). The genotype of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) -173 G/C and the repeat number of the microsatellite polymorphism -794 CATT5-8 were determined in DNA samples and correlated with fibrosis severity. In the first cohort, homozygous carriers of the C allele in the rs755622 had lower fibrosis stages compared to heterozygous carriers or wild types (1.25 vs. 2.0 vs. 2.0; p = 0.03). Additionally, >/=7 microsatellite repeats were associated with lower fibrosis stages (<F2) (p = 0.04). Comparable tendencies were observed in the second independent cohort, where fibrosis was assessed using transient elastography. However, once cirrhosis had been established, the C/C genotype and higher microsatellite repeats correlated with impaired liver function and a higher prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma. Our study demonstrates that specific MIF polymorphisms are associated with disease severity and complications of HCV-induced fibrosis in a stage- and context-dependent manner.

Authors: T. H. Wirtz, P. Fischer, C. Backhaus, I. Bergmann, E. F. Brandt, D. Heinrichs, M. T. Koenen, K. M. Schneider, T. Eggermann, I. Kurth, C. Stoppe, J. Bernhagen, T. Bruns, J. Fischer, T. Berg, C. Trautwein, M. L. Berres

Date Published: 31st Jul 2019

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is among the most common genetic disorders. Severe AATD is caused by a homozygous mutation in the SERPINA1 gene that encodes the Glu342Lys substitution (called the Pi*Z mutation, Pi*ZZ genotype). Pi*ZZ carriers may develop lung and liver diseases. Mutation-associated lung disorders have been well studied, but less is known about the effects in liver. We assessed the liver disease burden and associated features in adults with this form of AATD. METHODS: We collected data from 554 Pi*ZZ adults (403 in an exploratory cohort, 151 in a confirmatory cohort), in 9 European countries, with AATD who were homozygous for the Pi*Z mutation, and 234 adults without the Pi*Z mutation (controls), all without pre-existing liver disease. We collected data on demographic parameters, comorbidities, lung- and liver-related health, and blood samples for laboratory analysis. Liver fibrosis was assessed non-invasively via the serum tests Aspartate Aminotransferase to Platelet Ratio Index and HepaScore and via transient elastography. Liver steatosis was determined via transient elastography-based controlled attenuation parameter. We performed histologic analyses of livers from transgenic mice that overexpress the AATD-associated Pi*Z variant. RESULTS: Serum levels of liver enzymes were significantly higher in Pi*ZZ carriers vs controls. Based on non-invasive tests for liver fibrosis, significant fibrosis was suspected in 20%-36% of Pi*ZZ carriers, whereas signs of advanced fibrosis were 9- to 20-fold more common in Pi*ZZ carriers compared to non-carriers. Male sex; age older than 50 years; increased levels of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, or gamma-glutamyl transferase; and low numbers of platelets were associated with higher liver fibrosis burden. We did not find evidence for a relationship between lung function and liver fibrosis. Controlled attenuation parameter >/=280 dB/m, suggesting severe steatosis, was detected in 39% of Pi*ZZ carriers vs 31% of controls. Carriers of Pi*ZZ had lower serum concentrations of triglyceride and low- and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol than controls, suggesting impaired hepatic secretion of lipid. Livers from Pi*Z-overexpressing mice had steatosis and down-regulation of genes involved in lipid secretion. CONCLUSIONS: In studies of AATD adults with the Pi*ZZ mutation, and of Pi*Z-overexpressing mice, we found evidence of liver steatosis and impaired lipid secretion. We identified factors associated with significant liver fibrosis in patients, which could facilitate hepatologic assessment and counseling of individuals who carry the Pi*ZZ mutation. ClinicalTrials.gov Number NCT02929940.

Authors: K. Hamesch, M. Mandorfer, V. M. Pereira, L. S. Moeller, M. Pons, G. E. Dolman, M. C. Reichert, C. V. Schneider, V. Woditsch, J. Voss, C. Lindhauer, M. Fromme, I. Spivak, N. Guldiken, B. Zhou, A. Arslanow, B. Schaefer, H. Zoller, E. Aigner, T. Reiberger, M. Wetzel, B. Siegmund, C. Simoes, R. Gaspar, L. Maia, D. Costa, M. Bento-Miranda, J. van Helden, E. Yagmur, D. Bzdok, J. Stolk, W. Gleiber, V. Knipel, W. Windisch, R. Mahadeva, R. Bals, R. Koczulla, M. Barrecheguren, M. Miravitlles, S. Janciauskiene, F. Stickel, F. Lammert, R. Liberal, J. Genesca, W. J. Griffiths, M. Trauner, A. Krag, C. Trautwein, P. Strnad

Date Published: 24th May 2019

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract

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Authors: Ahmed Ghallab, Ute Hofmann, Selahaddin Sezgin, Nachiket Vartak, Reham Hassan, Ayham Zaza, Patricio Godoy, Kai Markus Schneider, Georgia Guenther, Yasser A Ahmed, Aya A Abbas, Verena Keitel, Lars Kuepfer, Steven Dooley, Frank Lammert, Christian Trautwein, Michael Spiteller, Dirk Drasdo, Alan F Hofmann, Peter L M Jansen, Jan G Hengstler, Raymond Reif

Date Published: 13th Aug 2018

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

OBJECTIVE: Homozygous alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency increases the risk for developing cirrhosis, whereas the relevance of heterozygous carriage remains unclear. Hence, we evaluated the impact of the two most relevant AAT variants ('Pi*Z' and 'Pi*S'), present in up to 10% of Caucasians, on subjects with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) or alcohol misuse. DESIGN: We analysed multicentric case-control cohorts consisting of 1184 people with biopsy-proven NAFLD and of 2462 people with chronic alcohol misuse, both cohorts comprising cases with cirrhosis and controls without cirrhosis. Genotyping for the Pi*Z and Pi*S variants was performed. RESULTS: The Pi*Z variant presented in 13.8% of patients with cirrhotic NAFLD but only in 2.4% of counterparts without liver fibrosis (p<0.0001). Accordingly, the Pi*Z variant increased the risk of NAFLD subjects to develop cirrhosis (adjusted OR=7.3 (95% CI 2.2 to 24.8)). Likewise, the Pi*Z variant presented in 6.2% of alcohol misusers with cirrhosis but only in 2.2% of alcohol misusers without significant liver injury (p<0.0001). Correspondingly, alcohol misusers carrying the Pi*Z variant were prone to develop cirrhosis (adjusted OR=5.8 (95% CI 2.9 to 11.7)). In contrast, the Pi*S variant was not associated with NAFLD-related cirrhosis and only borderline with alcohol-related cirrhosis (adjusted OR=1.47 (95% CI 0.99 to 2.19)). CONCLUSION: The Pi*Z variant is the hitherto strongest single nucleotide polymorphism-based risk factor for cirrhosis in NAFLD and alcohol misuse, whereas the Pi*S variant confers only a weak risk in alcohol misusers. As 2%-4% of Caucasians are Pi*Z carriers, this finding should be considered in genetic counselling of affected individuals.

Authors: P. Strnad, S. Buch, K. Hamesch, J. Fischer, J. Rosendahl, R. Schmelz, S. Brueckner, M. Brosch, C. V. Heimes, V. Woditsch, D. Scholten, H. D. Nischalke, S. Janciauskiene, M. Mandorfer, M. Trauner, M. J. Way, A. McQuillin, M. C. Reichert, M. Krawczyk, M. Casper, F. Lammert, F. Braun, W. von Schonfels, S. Hinz, G. Burmeister, C. Hellerbrand, A. Teufel, A. Feldman, J. M. Schattenberg, H. Bantel, A. Pathil, M. Demir, J. Kluwe, T. Boettler, M. Ridinger, N. Wodarz, M. Soyka, M. Rietschel, F. Kiefer, T. Weber, S. Marhenke, A. Vogel, H. Hinrichsen, A. Canbay, M. Schlattjan, K. Sosnowsky, C. Sarrazin, J. von Felden, A. Geier, P. Deltenre, B. Sipos, C. Schafmayer, M. Nothnagel, E. Aigner, C. Datz, F. Stickel, M. Y. Morgan, J. Hampe, T. Berg, C. Trautwein

Date Published: 3rd Aug 2018

Publication Type: Journal

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