Publications

Abstract (Expand)

The p38(MAPK) downstream targets MAPKAP kinases (MK) 2 and 3 are critical for the regulation of the macrophage response to LPS. The extents to which these two kinases act cooperatively and distinctly in regulating LPS-induced inflammatory cytokine expression are still unclear. To address this uncertainty, whole transcriptome analyses were performed using bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDM) generated from MK2(-/-) or MK2/3(-/-) animals and their wild-type littermates. The results suggest that in BMDM, MK2 and MK3 not only cooperatively regulate the transcript expression of signaling intermediates, including IL-10, IL-19, CXCL2 and the IL-4 receptor (IL-4R)alpha subunit, they also exert distinct regulatory effects on the expression of specific transcripts. Based on the differential regulation of gene expression by MK2 and MK3, at least six regulatory patterns were identified. Importantly, we confirmed our previous finding, which showed that in the absence of MK2, MK3 negatively regulates IFN-beta. Moreover, this genome-wide analysis identified the regulation of Cr1A, NOD1 and Serpina3f as similar to that of IFN-beta. In the absence of MK2, MK3 also delayed the nuclear translocation of NFkappaB by delaying the ubiquitination and subsequent degradation of IkappaBbeta, reflecting the substantial plasticity of the response of BMDM to LPS.

Authors: Christian Ehlting, J. Rex, U. Albrecht, R. Deenen, C. Tiedje, K. Kohrer, O. Sawodny, M. Gaestel, D. Haussinger, Johannes Bode

Date Published: 30th Jul 2019

Journal: Sci Rep

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND & AIMS: Activation of transforming growth factor beta (TGFB) promotes liver fibrosis by activating hepatic stellate cells (HSCs), but the mechanism of TGFB activation are not clear. We investigated the role of extracellular matrix protein 1 (ECM1), which interacts with extracellular and structural proteins, in TGFB activation in livers of mice. METHODS: We performed studies with e C57BL/6J mice (controls), ECM1-knockout (ECM1-KO) mice, and mice with hepatocyte-specific knockout of EMC1 (ECM1Deltahep). ECM1 or soluble TGFB receptor 2 (TGFBR2) were expressed in livers of mice following injection of an adeno-associated virus vector. Liver fibrosis was induced by carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) administration. Livers were collected from mice and analyzed by histology, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, and immunofluorescence analyses. Hepatocytes and HSCs were isolated from livers of mice and incubated with ECM1; production of cytokines and activation of reporter genes were quantified. Liver tissues from patients with viral or alcohol-induced hepatitis (with different stages of fibrosis) and individuals with healthy liver were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization. RESULTS: ECM1-KO mice spontaneously developed liver fibrosis and died by 2 months of age without significant hepatocyte damage or inflammation. In liver tissues of mice, we found that ECM1 stabilized extracellular matrix-deposited TGFB in its inactive form by interacting with alphav integrins to prevent activation of HSCs. In liver tissues from patients and in mice with CCl4-induced liver fibrosis, we found an inverse correlation between level of ECM1 and severity of fibrosis. CCl4-induced liver fibrosis was accelerated in ECM1Deltahep mice compared with control mice. Hepatocytes produced the highest levels of ECM1 in livers of mice. Ectopic expression of ECM1 or soluble TGFBR2 in liver prevented fibrogenesis in ECM1-KO mice and prolonged their survival. Ectopic expression of ECM1 in liver also reduced the severity of CCl4-induced fibrosis in mice. CONCLUSIONS: ECM1, produced by hepatocytes, inhibits activation of TGFB and its activation of HSCs to prevent fibrogenesis in mouse liver. Strategies to increase levels of ECM1 in liver might be developed for treatment of fibrosis.

Authors: W. Fan, T. Liu, W. Chen, Seddik Hammad, T. Longerich, Y. Fu, N. Li, Y. He, C. Liu, Y. Zhang, Q. Lian, Jieling Zhao, C. Yan, L. Li, C. Yi, Z. Ling, L. Ma, Jieling Zhao, H. Xu, P. Wang, M. Cong, H. You, Z. Liu, Y. Wang, J. Chen, D. Li, L. Hui, Steven Dooley, J. Hou, J. Jia, B. Sun

Date Published: 27th Jul 2019

Journal: Gastroenterology

Abstract (Expand)

OBJECTIVE: Although glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) is a member of the transforming growth factor-beta superfamily, its function in liver fibrosis has rarely been studied. Here, we investigated the role of GDNF in hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and liver fibrosis in humans and mice. DESIGN: GDNF expression was examined in liver biopsies and sera from patients with liver fibrosis. The functional role of GDNF in liver fibrosis was examined in mice with adenoviral delivery of the GDNF gene, GDNF sgRNA CRISPR/Cas9 and the administration of GDNF-blocking antibodies. GDNF was examined on HSC activation using human and mouse primary HSCs. The binding of activin receptor-like kinase 5 (ALK5) to GDNF was determined using surface plasmon resonance (SPR), molecular docking, mutagenesis and co-immunoprecipitation. RESULTS: GDNF mRNA and protein levels are significantly upregulated in patients with stage F4 fibrosis. Serum GDNF content correlates positively with alpha-smooth muscle actin (alpha-SMA) and Col1A1 mRNA in human fibrotic livers. Mice with overexpressed GDNF display aggravated liver fibrosis, while mice with silenced GDNF expression or signalling inhibition by GDNF-blocking antibodies have reduced fibrosis and HSC activation. GDNF is confined mainly to HSCs and contributes to HSC activation through ALK5 at His(39) and Asp(76) and through downstream signalling via Smad2/3, but not through GDNF family receptor alpha-1 (GFRalpha1). GDNF, ALK5 and alpha-SMA colocalise in human and mouse HSCs, as demonstrated by confocal microscopy. CONCLUSIONS: GDNF promotes HSC activation and liver fibrosis through ALK5/Smad signalling. Inhibition of GDNF could be a novel therapeutic strategy to combat liver fibrosis.

Authors: L. Tao, W. Ma, L. Wu, M. Xu, Y. Yang, W. Zhang, W. Sha, H. Li, J. Xu, R. Feng, D. Xue, J. Zhang, Steven Dooley, E. Seki, P. Liu, C. Liu

Date Published: 6th Jun 2019

Journal: Gut

Abstract (Expand)

When non-linear models are fitted to experimental data, parameter estimates can be poorly constrained albeit being identifiable in principle. This means that along certain paths in parameter space, the log-likelihood does not exceed a given statistical threshold but remains bounded. This situation, denoted as practical non-identifiability, can be detected by Monte Carlo sampling or by systematic scanning using the profile likelihood method. In contrast, any method based on a Taylor expansion of the log-likelihood around the optimum, e.g., parameter uncertainty estimation by the Fisher Information Matrix, reveals no information about the boundedness at all. In this work, we present a geometric approach, approximating the original log-likelihood by geodesic coordinates of the model manifold. The Christoffel Symbols in the geodesic equation are fixed to those obtained from second order model sensitivities at the optimum. Based on three exemplary non-linear models we show that the information about the log-likelihood bounds and flat parameter directions can already be contained in this local information. Whereas the unbounded case represented by the Fisher Information Matrix is embedded in the geometric framework as vanishing Christoffel Symbols, non-vanishing constant Christoffel Symbols prove to define prototype non-linear models featuring boundedness and flat parameter directions of the log-likelihood. Finally, we investigate if those models could allow to approximate and replace computationally expensive objective functions originating from non-linear models by a surrogate objective function in parameter estimation problems.

Authors: Daniel Lill, Jens Timmer, Daniel Kaschek

Date Published: 3rd Jun 2019

Journal: PLoS ONE

Abstract (Expand)

Modular Response Analysis (MRA) is a suite of methods that under certain assumptions permits the precise reconstruction of both the directions and strengths of connections between network modules from network responses to perturbations. Standard MRA assumes that modules are insulated, thereby neglecting the existence of inter-modular protein complexes. Such complexes sequester proteins from different modules and propagate perturbations to the protein abundance of a downstream module retroactively to an upstream module. MRA-based network reconstruction detects retroactive, sequestration-induced connections when an enzyme from one module is substantially sequestered by its substrate that belongs to a different module. Moreover, inferred networks may surprisingly depend on the choice of protein abundances that are experimentally perturbed, and also some inferred connections might be false. Here, we extend MRA by introducing a combined computational and experimental approach, which allows for a computational restoration of modular insulation, unmistakable network reconstruction and discrimination between solely regulatory and sequestration-induced connections for a range of signaling pathways. Although not universal, our approach extends MRA methods to signaling networks with retroactive interactions between modules arising from enzyme sequestration effects.

Authors: Daniel Lill, O. S. Rukhlenko, A. J. Mc Elwee, E. Kashdan, Jens Timmer, B. N. Kholodenko

Date Published: 1st Jun 2019

Journal: NPJ Syst Biol Appl

Abstract (Expand)

Repeated administration of hepatotoxicants is usually accompanied by liver fibrosis. However, the difference in response as a result of repeated exposures of acetaminophen (APAP) compared to a single dose is not well-studied. Therefore, in the current study, the liver response after a second dose of APAP was investigated. Adult fasted Balb/C mice were exposed to two toxic doses of 300 mg/kg APAP, which were administered 72 h apart from each other. Subsequently, blood and liver from the treated mice were collected 24 h and 72 h after both APAP admin-istrations. Liver transaminase, i.e. alanine amino transferase (ALT) and aspartate amino transferase (AST) levels revealed that the fulminant liver damage was reduced after the second APAP administration compared to that observed at the same time point after the first treatment. These results correlated with the necrotic areas as indicated by histological analyses. Surprisingly, Picro Sirius Red (PSR) staining showed that the accumulation of extracel-lular matrix after the second dose coincides with the upregulation of some fibrogenic signatures, e.g., alpha smooth muscle actin. Non-targeted liver tissue metabolic profiling indicates that most alterations occur 24 h after the first dose of APAP. However, the levels of most metabolites recover to basal values over time. This organ adaptation process is also confirmed by the upregulation of antioxidative systems like e.g. superoxide dismutase and catalase. From the results, it can be concluded that there is a different response of the liver to APAP toxic doses, if the liver has already been exposed to APAP. A necroinflammatory process followed by a liver regeneration was observed after the first APAP exposure. However, fibrogenesis through the accumulation of extracellular matrix is observed after a second challenge. Therefore, further studies are required to mechanistically understand the so called “liver memory”

Author: Seddik Hammad

Date Published: 6th Feb 2019

Journal: EXCLI

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Authors: Ersin Karatayli, Rabea A. Hall, Susanne Weber, Steven Dooley, Frank Lammert

Date Published: 1st Feb 2019

Journal: Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Molecular Basis of Disease

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Authors: Steven Dooley, W Fan, Seddik Hammad, K Gould, T Longerich, T Liu, W Chen, C Liu, J Hou, J Jia, B Sun

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

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Authors: B Dewidar, A Dropmann, K Gould, V Hartwig, C Dormann, Steven Dooley, Seddik Hammad

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

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Authors: B Dewidar, Seddik Hammad, MP Ebert, Jan Hengstler, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

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Authors: Seddik Hammad, U Dahmen, A Othman, I Recklinghausen, Jan Hengstler, U Klingmüller, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

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Authors: M Han, ZC Nwosu, MP Ebert, Seddik Hammad, Steven Dooley, C Meyer

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

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Authors: Seddik Hammad, Jieling Zhao, Yi Yin, Ayham Zaza, Dirk Drasdo, Jan Hengstler, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 2019

Journal: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND: Although metabolism is profoundly altered in human liver cancer, the extent to which experimental models, e.g. cell lines, mimic those alterations is unresolved. Here, we aimed to determine the resemblance of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cell lines to human liver tumours, specifically in the expression of deregulated metabolic targets in clinical tissue samples. METHODS: We compared the overall gene expression profile of poorly-differentiated (HLE, HLF, SNU-449) to well-differentiated (HUH7, HEPG2, HEP3B) HCC cell lines in three publicly available microarray datasets. Three thousand and eighty-five differentially expressed genes in >/=2 datasets (P < 0.05) were used for pathway enrichment and gene ontology (GO) analyses. Further, we compared the topmost gene expression, pathways, and GO from poorly differentiated cell lines to the pattern from four human HCC datasets (623 tumour tissues). In well- versus poorly differentiated cell lines, and in representative models HLE and HUH7 cells, we specifically assessed the expression pattern of 634 consistently deregulated metabolic genes in human HCC. These data were complemented by quantitative PCR, proteomics, metabolomics and assessment of response to thirteen metabolism-targeting compounds in HLE versus HUH7 cells. RESULTS: We found that poorly-differentiated HCC cells display upregulated MAPK/RAS/NFkB signaling, focal adhesion, and downregulated complement/coagulation cascade, PPAR-signaling, among pathway alterations seen in clinical tumour datasets. In HLE cells, 148 downregulated metabolic genes in liver tumours also showed low gene/protein expression - notably in fatty acid beta-oxidation (e.g. ACAA1/2, ACADSB, HADH), urea cycle (e.g. CPS1, ARG1, ASL), molecule transport (e.g. SLC2A2, SLC7A1, SLC25A15/20), and amino acid metabolism (e.g. PHGDH, PSAT1, GOT1, GLUD1). In contrast, HUH7 cells showed a higher expression of 98 metabolic targets upregulated in tumours (e.g. HK2, PKM, PSPH, GLUL, ASNS, and fatty acid synthesis enzymes ACLY, FASN). Metabolomics revealed that the genomic portrait of HLE cells co-exist with profound reliance on glutamine to fuel tricarboxylic acid cycle, whereas HUH7 cells use both glucose and glutamine. Targeting glutamine pathway selectively suppressed the proliferation of HLE cells. CONCLUSIONS: We report a yet unappreciated distinct expression pattern of clinically-relevant metabolic genes in HCC cell lines, which could enable the identification and therapeutic targeting of metabolic vulnerabilities at various liver cancer stages.

Authors: Z. C. Nwosu, N. Battello, M. Rothley, W. Pioronska, B. Sitek, M. P. Ebert, Ute Hofmann, J. Sleeman, S. Wolfl, C. Meyer, D. A. Megger, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 5th Sep 2018

Journal: J Exp Clin Cancer Res

Abstract (Expand)

MicroRNA (miRNA)-mediated gene regulation contributes to liver pathophysiology, including hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation and fibrosis progression. Here, we investigated the role of miR-942 in human liver fibrosis. The expression of miR-942, HSC activation markers, transforming growth factor-beta pseudoreceptor BMP and activin membrane-bound inhibitor (BAMBI), as well as collagen deposition, were investigated in 100 liver specimens from patients with varying degree of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related fibrosis. Human primary HSCs and the immortalized cell line (LX2 cells) were used for functional studies. We found that miR-942 expression was upregulated in activated HSCs and correlated inversely with BAMBI expression in liver fibrosis progression. Transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) and lipopolyssacharide (LPS), two major drivers of liver fibrosis and inflammation, induce miR-942 expression in HSCs via Smad2/3 respective NF-kappaB/p50 binding to the miR-942 promoter. Mechanistically, the induced miR-942 degrades BAMBI mRNA in HSCs, thereby sensitizing the cells for fibrogenic TGF-beta signaling and also partly mediates LPS-induced proinflammatory HSC fate. In conclusion, the TGF-beta and LPS-induced miR-942 mediates HSC activation through downregulation of BAMBI in human liver fibrosis. Our study provides new insights on the molecular mechanism of HSC activation and fibrosis.

Authors: L. Tao, D. Xue, D. Shen, W. Ma, J. Zhang, X. Wang, W. Zhang, L. Wu, K. Pan, Y. Yang, Z. C. Nwosu, Steven Dooley, E. Seki, C. Liu

Date Published: 12th Aug 2018

Journal: Arch Toxicol

Abstract (Expand)

Upon liver intoxication with malnutrition or high-fat diet feeding, fibrinogen is synthesized by hepatocytes and secreted into the blood in human and mouse. Its primary function is to occlude blood vessels upon damage and thereby stop excessive bleeding. High fibrinogen levels may contribute to the development of pathological thrombosis, which is one mechanism linking fatty liver disease with cardiovascular disease. Our previous results present ERRgamma as key regulator of hepatocytic fibrinogen gene expression in human. In a therapeutic approach, we now tested ERRgamma inverse agonist GSK5182 as regulator of fibrinogen levels in mouse hyperfibrinogenemia caused by diet-induced obesity and in mouse hepatocytes. ACEA, a CB1R agonist, up-regulated transcription of mouse fibrinogen via induction of ERRgamma, whereas knockdown of ERRgamma attenuated the effect of ACEA (10 microM) on fibrinogen expression in AML12 mouse hepatocytes. Deletion analyses of the mouse fibrinogen gamma (FGG) gene promoter and ChIP assays revealed binding sites for ERRgamma on the mouse FGG promoter. ACEA or adenovirus ERRgamma injection induced FGA, FGB and FGG mRNA and protein expression in mouse liver, while ERRgamma knockdown with Ad-shERRgamma attenuated ACEA-mediated induction of fibrinogen gene expression. Moreover, mice maintained on a high-fat diet (HFD) expressed higher levels of fibrinogen, whereas cannabinoid receptor type 1 (CB1R)-KO mice fed an HFD had nearly normal fibrinogen levels. Finally, GSK5182 (40 mg/kg) strongly inhibits the ACEA (10 mg/kg) or HFD-mediated induction of fibrinogen level in mice. Taken together, targeting ERRgamma with its inverse agonist GSK5182 represents a promising therapeutic strategy for ameliorating hyperfibrinogenemia.

Authors: Y. Zhang, D. K. Kim, Y. S. Jung, Y. H. Kim, Y. S. Lee, J. Kim, W. I. Jeong, I. K. Lee, S. J. Cho, Steven Dooley, C. H. Lee, H. S. Choi

Date Published: 19th Jul 2018

Journal: Arch Toxicol

Abstract (Expand)

Transforming growth factor (TGF)-β stimulates extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition during development of liver fibrosis and cirrhosis, the most important risk factor for the onset of hepatocellular carcinoma. In liver cancer, TGF-β is responsible for a more aggressive and invasive phenotype, orchestrating remodeling of the tumor microenvironment and triggering epithelial-mesenchymal transition of cancer cells. This is the scientific rationale for targeting the TGF-β pathway via a small molecule, galunisertib (intracellular inhibitor of ALK5) in clinical trials to treat liver cancer patients at an advanced disease stage. In this study, the hypothesis that galunisertib modifies the tissue microenvironment via inhibition of the TGF-β pathway is tested in an experimental preclinical model. At the age of 6 months, Abcb4ko mice-a well-established model for chronic liver disease development and progression-are treated twice daily with galunisertib (150 mg/kg) via oral gavage for 14 consecutive days. Two days after the last treatment, blood plasma and livers are harvested for further assessment, including fibrosis scoring and ECM components. The reduction of Smad2 phosphorylation in both parenchymal and non-parenchymal liver cells following galunisertib administration confirms the treatment effectiveness. Damage-related galunisertib does not change cell proliferation, macrophage numbers and leucocyte recruitment. Furthermore, no clear impact on the amount of fibrosis is evident, as documented by PicroSirius red and Gomori-trichome scoring. On the other hand, several fibrogenic genes, e.g., collagens (Col1α1 and Col1α2), Tgf-β1 and Timp1, mRNA levels are significantly downregulated by galunisertib administration when compared to controls. Most interestingly, ECM/stromal components, fibronectin and laminin-332, as well as the carcinogenic β-catenin pathway, are remarkably reduced by galunisertib-treated Abcb5ko mice. In conclusion, TGF-β inhibition by galunisertib interferes, to some extent, with chronic liver progression, not by reducing the stage of liver fibrosis as measured by different scoring systems, but rather by modulating the biochemical composition of the deposited ECM, likely affecting the fate of non-parenchymal cells.

Authors: Seddik Hammad, Elisabetta Cavalcanti, Julia Werle, Maria Lucia Caruso, Anne Dropmann, Antonia Ignazzi, Matthias Philip Ebert, Steven Dooley, Gianluigi Giannelli

Date Published: 28th May 2018

Journal: Arch Toxicol

Abstract

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Authors: Haristi Gaitantzi, Christoph Meyer, Pia Rakoczy, Maria Thomas, Kristin Wahl, Franziska Wandrer, Heike Bantel, Hamed Alborzinia, Stefan Wölfl, Sabrina Ehnert, Andreas Nüssler, Ina Bergheim, Loredana Ciuclan, Matthias Ebert, Katja Breitkopf-Heinlein, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 1st Feb 2018

Journal: Cell Death Dis

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Authors: Dilay Lai, Feng Teng, Seddik Hammad, Julia Werle, Thorsten Maas, Andreas Teufel, Martina U. Muckenthaler, Steven Dooley, Maja Vujić Spasić

Date Published: 1st Feb 2018

Journal: Blood

Abstract (Expand)

Alcohol abuse is a global health problem causing a substantial fraction of chronic liver diseases. Abundant TGF-beta-a potent pro-fibrogenic cytokine-leads to disease progression. Our aim was to elucidate the crosstalk of TGF-beta and alcohol on hepatocytes. Primary murine hepatocytes were challenged with ethanol and TGF-beta and cell fate was determined. Fluidigm RNA analyses revealed transcriptional effects that regulate survival and apoptosis. Mechanistic insights were derived from enzyme/pathway inhibition experiments and modulation of oxidative stress levels. To substantiate findings, animal model specimens and human liver tissue cultures were investigated. RESULTS: On its own, ethanol had no effect on hepatocyte apoptosis, whereas TGF-beta increased cell death. Combined treatment led to massive hepatocyte apoptosis, which could also be recapitulated in human HCC liver tissue treated ex vivo. Alcohol boosted the TGF-beta pro-apoptotic gene signature. The underlying mechanism of pathway crosstalk involves SMAD and non-SMAD/AKT signaling. Blunting CYP2E1 and ADH activities did not prevent this effect, implying that it was not a consequence of alcohol metabolism. In line with this, the ethanol metabolite acetaldehyde did not mimic the effect and glutathione supplementation did not prevent the super-induction of cell death. In contrast, blocking GSK-3beta activity, a downstream mediator of AKT signaling, rescued the strong apoptotic response triggered by ethanol and TGF-beta. This study provides novel information on the crosstalk between ethanol and TGF-beta. We give evidence that ethanol directly leads to a boost of TGF-beta's pro-apoptotic function in hepatocytes, which may have implications for patients with chronic alcoholic liver disease.

Authors: H. Gaitantzi, C. Meyer, P. Rakoczy, M. Thomas, K. Wahl, F. Wandrer, H. Bantel, H. Alborzinia, S. Wolfl, S. Ehnert, A. Nussler, I. Bergheim, L. Ciuclan, M. Ebert, K. Breitkopf-Heinlein, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 21st Jan 2018

Journal: Cell Death Dis

Abstract (Expand)

Diseases and toxins may lead to death of active liver tissue, resulting in a loss of total clearance capacity at the whole-body level. However, it remains difficult to study, whether the loss of metabolizing tissue is sufficient to explain loss of metabolic capacity of the liver or whether the surviving tissue undergoes an adaptive response to compensate the loss. To understand the cellular impact of toxic liver damage in an in vivo situation, we here used physiologically-based pharmacokinetic modelling to investigate pharmacokinetics of a specifically designed drug cocktail at three different sampling sites of the body in healthy mice and mice treated with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4). Liver zonation was explicitly quantified in the models through immunostaining of cytochrome P450s enzymes. Comparative analyses between the simulated decrease in clearance capacity and the experimentally measured loss in tissue volume indicated that CCl4-induced impairment of metabolic functions goes beyond the mere loss of metabolically active tissue. The here established integrative modelling strategy hence provides mechanistic insights into functional consequences of toxic liver damage in an in vivo situation, which would not have been accessible by conventional methods.

Authors: Arne Schenk, Ahmed Ghallab, Ute Hofmann, Reham Hassan, Michael Schwarz, Andreas Schuppert, Lars Ole Schwen, Albert Braeuning, Donato Teutonico, Jan G. Hengstler, Lars Kuepfer

Date Published: 1st Dec 2017

Journal: Sci Rep

Abstract (Expand)

Conjugated polymer nanoparticles exhibit strong fluorescence and have been applied for biological fluorescence imaging in cell culture and in small animals. However, conjugated polymer particles are hydrophobic and often chemically inert materials with diameters ranging from below 50 nm to several microns. As such, conjugated polymer nanoparticles cannot be excreted through the renal system. This drawback has prevented their application for clinical bio-medical imaging. Here, we present fully conjugated polymer nanoparticles based on imidazole units. These nanoparticles can be bio-degraded by activated macrophages. Reactive oxygen species induce scission of the conjugated polymer backbone at the imidazole unit, leading to complete decomposition of the particles into soluble low molecular weight fragments. Furthermore, the nanoparticles can be surface functionalized for directed targeting. The approach opens a wide range of opportunities for conjugated polymer particles in the fields of medical imaging, drug-delivery, and theranostics.

Authors: Tatjana Repenko, Anne Rix, Simon Ludwanowski, Dennis Go, Fabian Kiessling, Wiltrud Lederle, Alexander J. C. Kuehne

Date Published: 1st Dec 2017

Journal: Nat Commun

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The metabolization and excretion of drugs in the liver are spatially heterogeneous processes. This is due to the spatial variability of physiological processes at different length scales of biological organization in healthy individuals, while many liver diseases further contribute to the heterogeneity. Classical, well-stirred pharmacokinetic models do not represent this heterogeneity, and various modeling approaches capable of representing heterogeneity have been developed recently. These approaches range from mechanistic and physio-geometrically realistic models focusing on specific spatial scales, via continuum models using homogenized physiological and metabolic properties, to integrative multiscale models. Such models could become essential research tools for simulations involving drugs with notable first-pass effects, fast-acting drugs or tracers, and diseased livers.

Authors: Lars Ole Schwen, Lars Kuepfer, Tobias Preusser

Date Published: 29th Nov 2017

Journal: Drug Discovery Today: Disease Models

Abstract (Expand)

The need for extended liver resection is increasing due to the growing incidence of liver tumors in aging societies. Individualized surgical planning is the key for identifying the optimal resection strategy and to minimize the risk of postoperative liver failure and tumor recurrence. Current computational tools provide virtual planning of liver resection by taking into account the spatial relationship between the tumor and the hepatic vascular trees, as well as the size of the future liver remnant. However, size and function of the liver are not necessarily equivalent. Hence, determining the future liver volume might misestimate the future liver function, especially in cases of hepatic comorbidities such as hepatic steatosis. A systems medicine approach could be applied, including biological, medical, and surgical aspects, by integrating all available anatomical and functional information of the individual patient. Such an approach holds promise for better prediction of postoperative liver function and hence improved risk assessment. This review provides an overview of mathematical models related to the liver and its function and explores their potential relevance for computational liver surgery. We first summarize key facts of hepatic anatomy, physiology, and pathology relevant for hepatic surgery, followed by a description of the computational tools currently used in liver surgical planning. Then we present selected state-of-the-art computational liver models potentially useful to support liver surgery. Finally, we discuss the main challenges that will need to be addressed when developing advanced computational planning tools in the context of liver surgery.

Authors: Bruno Christ, Uta Dahmen, Karl-Heinz Herrmann, Matthias König, Jürgen R. Reichenbach, Tim Ricken, Jana Schleicher, Lars Ole Schwen, Sebastian Vlaic, Navina Waschinsky

Date Published: 14th Nov 2017

Journal: Front. Physiol.

Abstract

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Authors: Zeribe Chike Nwosu, Dominik Andre Megger, Seddik Hammad, Barbara Sitek, Stephanie Roessler, Matthias Philip Ebert, Christoph Meyer, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 1st Sep 2017

Journal: Cellular and Molecular Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Abstract (Expand)

Carbon tetrachloride-induced liver injury is a thoroughly studied model for regeneration and fibrosis in rodents. Nevertheless, its pattern of liver fibrosis is frequently misinterpreted as portal type. To clarify this, we show that collagen type IV+ "streets" and alpha-SMA+ cells accumulate pericentrally and extend to neighbouring central areas of the liver lobule, forming a 'pseudolobule'. Blood vessels in the center of such pseudolobules are portal veins as indicated by the presence of bile duct cells (CK19+) and the absence of pericentral hepatocytes (glutamine synthetase+). It is critical to correctly describe this pattern of fibrosis, particulary for metabolic zonation studies.

Authors: Seddik Hammad, A. Braeuning, C. Meyer, F. E. Z. A. Mohamed, Jan Hengstler, Steven Dooley

Date Published: 22nd Aug 2017

Journal: Arch Toxicol

Abstract (Expand)

OBJECTIVE: Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP)-9, a member of the transforming growth factor-beta family of cytokines, is constitutively produced in the liver. Systemic levels act on many organs and tissues including bone and endothelium, but little is known about its hepatic functions in health and disease. DESIGN: Levels of BMP-9 and its receptors were analysed in primary liver cells. Direct effects of BMP-9 on hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and hepatocytes were studied in vitro, and the role of BMP-9 was examined in acute and chronic liver injury models in mice. RESULTS: Quiescent and activated HSCs were identified as major BMP-9 producing liver cell type. BMP-9 stimulation of cultured hepatocytes inhibited proliferation, epithelial to mesenchymal transition and preserved expression of important metabolic enzymes such as cytochrome P450. Acute liver injury caused by partial hepatectomy or single injections of carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) or lipopolysaccharide (LPS) into mice resulted in transient downregulation of hepatic BMP-9 mRNA expression. Correspondingly, LPS stimulation led to downregulation of BMP-9 expression in cultured HSCs. Application of BMP-9 after partial hepatectomy significantly enhanced liver damage and disturbed the proliferative response. Chronic liver damage in BMP-9-deficient mice or in mice adenovirally overexpressing the selective BMP-9 antagonist activin-like kinase 1-Fc resulted in reduced deposition of collagen and subsequent fibrosis. CONCLUSIONS: Constitutive expression of low levels of BMP-9 stabilises hepatocyte function in the healthy liver. Upon HSC activation, endogenous BMP-9 levels increase in vitro and in vivo and high levels of BMP-9 cause enhanced damage upon acute or chronic injury.

Authors: K. Breitkopf-Heinlein, C. Meyer, C. Konig, H. Gaitantzi, A. Addante, M. Thomas, E. Wiercinska, C. Cai, Q. Li, F. Wan, C. Hellerbrand, N. A. Valous, M. Hahnel, Christian Ehlting, Johannes Bode, S. Muller-Bohl, U. Klingmuller, J. Altenoder, I. Ilkavets, M. J. Goumans, L. J. Hawinkels, S. J. Lee, M. Wieland, C. Mogler, M. P. Ebert, B. Herrera, H. Augustin, A. Sanchez, Steven Dooley, P. Ten Dijke

Date Published: 25th Mar 2017

Journal: Gut

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND: The liver is the major site for alcohol metabolism in the body and therefore the primary target organ for ethanol (EtOH)-induced toxicity. In this study, we investigated the in vitro response of human liver cells to different EtOH concentrations in a perfused bioartificial liver device that mimics the complex architecture of the natural organ. METHODS: Primary human liver cells were cultured in the bioartificial liver device and treated for 24 hours with medium containing 150 mM (low), 300 mM (medium), or 600 mM (high) EtOH, while a control culture was kept untreated. Gene expression patterns for each EtOH concentration were monitored using Affymetrix Human Gene 1.0 ST Gene chips. Scaled expression profiles of differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were clustered using Fuzzy c-means algorithm. In addition, functional classification methods, KEGG pathway mapping and also a machine learning approach (Random Forest) were utilized. RESULTS: A number of 966 (150 mM EtOH), 1,334 (300 mM EtOH), or 4,132 (600 mM EtOH) genes were found to be differentially expressed. Dose-response relationships of the identified clusters of co-expressed genes showed a monotonic, threshold, or nonmonotonic (hormetic) behavior. Functional classification of DEGs revealed that low or medium EtOH concentrations operate adaptation processes, while alterations observed for the high EtOH concentration reflect the response to cellular damage. The genes displaying a hormetic response were functionally characterized by overrepresented "cellular ketone metabolism" and "carboxylic acid metabolism." Altered expression of the genes BAHD1 and H3F3B was identified as sufficient to classify the samples according to the applied EtOH doses. CONCLUSIONS: Different pathways of metabolic and epigenetic regulation are affected by EtOH exposition and partly undergo hormetic regulation in the bioartificial liver device. Gene expression changes observed at high EtOH concentrations reflect in some aspects the situation of alcoholic hepatitis in humans.

Authors: W. Schmidt-Heck, E. C. Wonne, T. Hiller, U. Menzel, D. Koczan, G. Damm, D. Seehofer, F. Knospel, N. Freyer, R. Guthke, Steven Dooley, K. Zeilinger

Date Published: 23rd Feb 2017

Journal: Alcohol Clin Exp Res

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: T Feng, J Dzieran, X Yuan, A Dropmann, T Maass, A Teufel, S Marhenke, T Gaiser, F Rückert, I Kleiter, S Kanzler, M P Ebert, A Vogel, P ten Dijke, Steven Dooley, N M Meindl-Beinker

Date Published: 2017

Journal: Oncogenesis

Abstract (Expand)

Caveolin-1 (CAV1) is an oncogenic membrane protein associated with endocytosis, extracellular matrix organisation, cholesterol distribution, cell migration and signaling. Recent studies reveal that CAV1 is involved in metabolic alterations - a critical strategy adopted by cancer cells to their survival advantage. Consequently, research findings suggest that CAV1, which is altered in several cancer types, influences tumour development or progression by controlling metabolism. Understanding the molecular interplay between CAV1 and metabolism could help uncover druggable metabolic targets or pathways of clinical relevance in cancer therapy. Here we review from a cancer perspective, the findings that CAV1 modulates cell metabolism with a focus on glycolysis, mitochondrial bioenergetics, glutaminolysis, fatty acid metabolism, and autophagy.

Authors: Z. C. Nwosu, M. P. Ebert, Steven Dooley, C. Meyer

Date Published: 18th Nov 2016

Journal: Mol Cancer

Abstract (Expand)

In this chapter, we illustrate how three-dimensional liver tissue models can be created from experimental image modalities by utilizing a well-established processing chain of experiments, microscopic imaging, image processing, image analysis and model construction. We describe how key features of liver tissue architecture are quantified and translated into model parameterizations, and show how a systematic iteration of experiments and model simulations often leads to a better understanding of biological phenomena in systems biology and systems medicine.

Authors: Stefan Hoehme, A. Friebel, Seddik Hammad, Dirk Drasdo, Jan Hengstler

Date Published: 11th Nov 2016

Journal: Methods Mol Biol

Abstract (Expand)

Small heterodimer partner (SHP) is a transcriptional corepressor regulating diverse metabolic processes. Here, we show that SHP acts as an intrinsic negative regulator of iron homeostasis. SHP-deficient mice maintained on a high-iron diet showed increased serum hepcidin levels, decreased expression of the iron exporter ferroportin as well as iron accumulation compared to WT mice. Conversely, overexpression of either SHP or AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a metabolic sensor inducing SHP expression, suppressed BMP6-induced hepcidin expression. In addition, an inhibitory effect of AMPK activators metformin and AICAR on BMP6-mediated hepcidin gene expression was significantly attenuated by ablation of SHP expression. Interestingly, SHP physically interacted with SMAD1 and suppressed BMP6-mediated recruitment of the SMAD complex to the hepcidin gene promoter by inhibiting the formation of SMAD1 and SMAD4 complex. Finally, overexpression of SHP and metformin treatment of BMP6 stimulated mice substantially restored hepcidin expression and serum iron to baseline levels. These results reveal a previously unrecognized role for SHP in the transcriptional control of iron homeostasis.

Authors: D. K. Kim, Y. H. Kim, Y. S. Jung, K. S. Kim, J. H. Jeong, Y. S. Lee, J. M. Yuk, B. C. Oh, H. E. Choy, Steven Dooley, M. U. Muckenthaler, C. H. Lee, H. S. Choi

Date Published: 1st Oct 2016

Journal: Sci Rep

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: Zhe Shen, Yan Liu, Bedair Dewidar, Junhao Hu, Ogyi Park, Teng Feng, Chengfu Xu, Chaohui Yu, Qi Li, Christoph Meyer, Iryna Ilkavets, Alexandra Müller, Carolin Stump-Guthier, Stefan Munker, Roman Liebe, Vincent Zimmer, Frank Lammert, Peter R. Mertens, Hai Li, Peter ten Dijke, Hellmut G. Augustin, Jun Li, Bin Gao, Matthias P. Ebert, Steven Dooley, Youming Li, Hong-Lei Weng

Date Published: 1st Jul 2016

Journal: The American Journal of Pathology

Abstract (Expand)

Liver myofibroblasts (MFB) are crucial mediators of extracellular matrix (ECM) deposition in liver fibrosis. They arise mainly from hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) upon a process termed "activation." To a lesser extent, and depending on the cause of liver damage, portal fibroblasts, mesothelial cells, and fibrocytes may also contribute to the MFB population. Targeting MFB to reduce liver fibrosis is currently an area of intense research. Unfortunately, a clog in the wheel of antifibrotic therapies is the fact that although MFB are known to mediate scar formation, and participate in liver inflammatory response, many of their molecular portraits are currently unknown. In this review, we discuss recent understanding of MFB in health and diseases, focusing specifically on three evolving research fields: metabolism, autophagy, and epigenetics. We have emphasized on therapeutic prospects where applicable and mentioned techniques for use in MFB studies. Subsequently, we highlighted uncharted territories in MFB research to help direct future efforts aimed at bridging gaps in current knowledge.

Authors: Z. C. Nwosu, H. Alborzinia, S. Wolfl, Steven Dooley, Y. Liu

Date Published: 18th Jun 2016

Journal: Front Physiol

Abstract

Not specified

Authors: A. Schmoldt, H. F. Benthe, G. Haberland

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Biochem Pharmacol

Abstract (Expand)

BACKGROUND: Automated image analysis enables quantitative measurement of steatosis in histological images. However, spatial heterogeneity of steatosis can make quantitative steatosis scores unreliable. To improve the reliability, we have developed novel scores that are "focused" on steatotic tissue areas. METHODS: Focused scores use concepts of tile-based hotspot analysis in order to compute statistics about steatotic tissue areas in an objective way. We evaluated focused scores on three data sets of images of rodent liver sections exhibiting different amounts of dietary-induced steatosis. The same evaluation was conducted with the standard steatosis score computed by most image analysis methods. RESULTS: The standard score reliably discriminated large differences in steatosis (intraclass correlation coefficient ICC = 0.86), but failed to discriminate small (ICC = 0.54) and very small (ICC = 0.14) differences. With an appropriate tile size, mean-based focused scores reliably discriminated large (ICC = 0.92), small (ICC = 0.86) and very small (ICC = 0.83) differences. Focused scores based on high percentiles showed promise in further improving the discrimination of very small differences (ICC = 0.93). CONCLUSIONS: Focused scores enable reliable discrimination of small differences in steatosis in histological images. They are conceptually simple and straightforward to use in research studies.

Authors: André Homeyer, Seddik Hammad, Lars Ole Schwen, U. Dahmen, H. Hofener, Y. Gao, Steven Dooley, Andrea Schenk

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Diagn Pathol

Abstract (Expand)

Transcriptome profiling followed by differential gene expression analysis often leads to lists of genes that are hard to analyse and interpret. Functional genomic tools are powerful approaches for downstream analysis, as they summarize the large and noisy gene expression space into a smaller number of biological meaningful features. In particular, methods that estimate the activity of processes by mapping transcripts level to process members are popular. However, footprints of either a pathway or transcription factor (TF) on gene expression show superior performance over mapping-based gene sets. These footprints are largely developed for humans and their usability in the broadly-used model organism Mus musculus is uncertain. Evolutionary conservation of the gene regulatory system suggests that footprints of human pathways and TFs can functionally characterize mice data. In this paper we analyze this hypothesis. We perform a comprehensive benchmark study exploiting two state-of-the-art footprint methods, DoRothEA and an extended version of PROGENy. These methods infer TF and pathway activity, respectively. Our results show that both can recover mouse perturbations, confirming our hypothesis that footprints are conserved between mice and humans. Subsequently, we illustrate the usability of PROGENy and DoRothEA by recovering pathway/TF-disease associations from newly generated disease sets. Additionally, we provide pathway and TF activity scores for a large collection of human and mouse perturbation and disease experiments (2,374). We believe that this resource, available for interactive exploration and download (https://saezlab.shinyapps.io/footprint_scores/), can have broad applications including the study of diseases and therapeutics.

Authors: Christian Holland, Bence Szalai, Julio Saez-Rodriguez

Date Published: No date defined

Journal: Not specified

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