Publications

56 Publications visible to you, out of a total of 56

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Authors: Silvia Colucci, Sandro Altamura, Oriana Marques, Anne Dropmann, Natalie K. Horvat, Katja Müdder, Seddik Hammad, Steven Dooley, Martina U. Muckenthaler

Date Published: 13th May 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 Many functional analysis tools have been developed to extract functional and mechanistic insight from bulk transcriptome data. With the advent of single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq), it is in principle possible to do such an analysis for single cells. However, scRNA-seq data has characteristics such as drop-out events and low library sizes. It is thus not clear if functional TF and pathway analysis tools established for bulk sequencing can be applied to scRNA-seq in a meaningful way. Results To address this question, we perform benchmark studies on simulated and real scRNA-seq data. We include the bulk-RNA tools PROGENy, GO enrichment, and DoRothEA that estimate pathway and transcription factor (TF) activities, respectively, and compare them against the tools SCENIC/AUCell and metaVIPER, designed for scRNA-seq. For the in silico study, we simulate single cells from TF/pathway perturbation bulk RNA-seq experiments. We complement the simulated data with real scRNA-seq data upon CRISPR-mediated knock-out. Our benchmarks on simulated and real data reveal comparable performance to the original bulk data. Additionally, we show that the TF and pathway activities preserve cell type-specific variability by analyzing a mixture sample sequenced with 13 scRNA-seq protocols. We also provide the benchmark data for further use by the community. Conclusions Our analyses suggest that bulk-based functional analysis tools that use manually curated footprint gene sets can be applied to scRNA-seq data, partially outperforming dedicated single-cell tools. Furthermore, we find that the performance of functional analysis tools is more sensitive to the gene sets than to the statistic used.

Authors: Christian H. Holland, Jovan Tanevski, Javier Perales-Patón, Jan Gleixner, Manu P. Kumar, Elisabetta Mereu, Brian A. Joughin, Oliver Stegle, Douglas A. Lauffenburger, Holger Heyn, Bence Szalai, Julio Saez-Rodriguez

Date Published: 1st 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)

When modeling a detoxifying organ function, an important component is the impact of flow on the metabolism of a compound of interest carried by the blood. We here study the effects of red blood cells (such as the Fahraeus-Lindqvist effect and plasma skimming) on blood flow in typical microcirculatory components such as tubes, bifurcations and entire networks, with particular emphasis on the liver as important representative of detoxifying organs. In one of the plasma skimming models, under certain conditions, oscillations between states are found and analyzed in a methodical study to identify their causes and influencing parameters. The flow solution obtained is then used to define the velocity at which a compound would be transported. A convection-reaction equation is studied to simulate the transport of a compound in blood and its uptake by the surrounding cells. Different types of signal sharpness have to be handled depending on the application to address different temporal compound concentration profiles. To permit executing the studied models numerically stable and accurate, we here extend existing transport schemes to handle converging bifurcations, and more generally multi-furcations. We study the accuracy of different numerical schemes as well as the effect of reactions and of the network itself on the bolus shape. Even though this study is guided by applications in liver micro-architecture, the proposed methodology is general and can readily be applied to other capillary network geometries, hence to other organs or to bioengineered network designs.

Authors: N. Boissier, D. Drasdo, I. E. Vignon-Clementel

Date Published: 29th Nov 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract

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Authors: Kamalakannan Radhakrishnan, Yong-Hoon Kim, Yoon Seok Jung, Jina Kim, Don-Kyu Kim, Sung Jin Cho, In-Kyu Lee, Steven Dooley, Chul-Ho Lee, Hueng-Sik Choi

Date Published: 1st Oct 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

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Authors: Fatma El-Zahraa Ammar Mohamed, Seddik Hammad, Tu Vinh Luong, Bedair Dewidar, Rajai Al-Jehani, Nathan Davies, Steven Dooley, Rajiv Jalan

Date Published: 1st Aug 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

AIMS: Unlike other Toll-like receptors (TLRs), the role of toll like receptor 2 (TLR-2) in the pathogenesis of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not well studied. We, therefore, set out to investigate the expression of TLR-2 in different chronic liver disease states along with other markers of cell death, cellular proliferation and tissue vascularisation METHODS AND RESULTS: Immunohistochemistry was performed on liver tissue microarrays comprising hepatitis, cirrhosis and HCC patient samples using antibodies against TLR-2, Ki-67, Caspase-3 and VEGF. This was done in order to characterise receptor expression and translocation, apoptosis, cell proliferation and vascularisation. Cytoplasmic TLR-2 expression was found to be weak in 5/8 normal liver cases, 10/19 hepatitis cases and 8/21 cirrhosis patients. Moderate to strong TLR-2 expression was observed in some cases of hepatitis and cirrhosis. Both, nuclear and cytoplasmic TLR-2 expression was present in HCC with weak intensity in 11/41 cases, and moderate to strong staining in 19/41 cases. Eleven HCC cases were TLR-2 negative. Surprisingly, both cytoplasmic and nuclear TLR-2 expression in HCC were found to significantly correlate with proliferative index (r = 0.24 and 0.37), Caspase-3 expression (r = 0.27 and 0.38) and vascularisation (r = 0.56 and 0.23). Further, nuclear TLR-2 localisation was predominant in HCC, whereas cytoplasmic expression was more prevalent in hepatitis and cirrhosis. Functionally, treatment of HUH7 HCC cells with a TLR-2 agonist induced the expression of cellular proliferation and vascularisation markers CD34 and VEGF. CONCLUSIONS: Our results demonstrate a positive correlation between the expression of TLR-2 and other markers of proliferation and vascularisation in HCC which suggests a possible role for TLR-2 in HCC pathogenesis.

Authors: F. E. A. Mohamed, S. Hammad, T. V. Luong, B. Dewidar, R. Al-Jehani, N. Davies, S. Dooley, R. Jalan

Date Published: 25th Jul 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Tightly interlinked feedback regulators control the dynamics of intracellular responses elicited by the activation of signal transduction pathways. Interferon alpha (IFNalpha) orchestrates antiviral responses in hepatocytes, yet mechanisms that define pathway sensitization in response to prestimulation with different IFNalpha doses remained unresolved. We establish, based on quantitative measurements obtained for the hepatoma cell line Huh7.5, an ordinary differential equation model for IFNalpha signal transduction that comprises the feedback regulators STAT1, STAT2, IRF9, USP18, SOCS1, SOCS3, and IRF2. The model-based analysis shows that, mediated by the signaling proteins STAT2 and IRF9, prestimulation with a low IFNalpha dose hypersensitizes the pathway. In contrast, prestimulation with a high dose of IFNalpha leads to a dose-dependent desensitization, mediated by the negative regulators USP18 and SOCS1 that act at the receptor. The analysis of basal protein abundance in primary human hepatocytes reveals high heterogeneity in patient-specific amounts of STAT1, STAT2, IRF9, and USP18. The mathematical modeling approach shows that the basal amount of USP18 determines patient-specific pathway desensitization, while the abundance of STAT2 predicts the patient-specific IFNalpha signal response.

Authors: F. Kok, M. Rosenblatt, M. Teusel, T. Nizharadze, V. Goncalves Magalhaes, C. Dachert, T. Maiwald, A. Vlasov, M. Wasch, S. Tyufekchieva, K. Hoffmann, G. Damm, D. Seehofer, T. Boettler, M. Binder, J. Timmer, M. Schilling, U. Klingmuller

Date Published: 23rd Jul 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)

Caveolin-1 (CAV1) is a membrane protein associated with metabolism in various cell types. The transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) is a pro-fibrogenic cytokine in the liver, but its metabolic gene signatures remain unclear to date. We have previously shown that CAV1 alters TGF-beta signaling and blocks its pro-apoptotic function. Here, we defined TGF-beta-induced metabolic gene signatures in hepatocytes and assessed whether CAV1 abundance affects TGF-beta control of those metabolic genes. Microarray analyses of primary hepatocytes after TGF-beta stimulation (48 h) showed differential expression of 4224 genes, of which 721 are metabolic genes (adjusted p < 0.001). Functional annotation analysis revealed that TGF-beta mainly suppresses metabolic gene network, including genes involved in glutathione, cholesterol, fatty acid, and amino acid metabolism. TGF-beta also upregulated several genes related to glycan metabolism and ion transport. In contrast to TGF-beta effects, CAV1 knockdown triggered the upregulation of metabolic genes. Immortalized mouse hepatocytes (AML12 cells) were used to validate the gene changes induced by TGF-beta stimulation and CAV1 knockdown. Noteworthy, of the TGF-beta metabolic target genes, CAV1 modulated the expression of 228 (27%). In conclusion, we present several novel metabolic gene signatures of TGF-beta in hepatocytes and show that CAV1 abundance alters almost a third of these genes. These findings could enable a better understanding of TGF-beta function in normal and diseased liver especially where differential CAV1 level is implicated.

Authors: M. Han, Z. C. Nwosu, W. Pioronska, M. P. Ebert, S. Dooley, C. Meyer

Date Published: 22nd Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Caveolin-1 (CAV1) is a crucial regulator of lipid accumulation and metabolism. Previous studies have shown that global Cav1 deficiency affects lipid metabolism and hepatic steatosis. We aimed to analyze the consequences of hepatocyte-specific Cav1 knockout under healthy conditions and upon non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) development. Male and female hepatocyte-specific Cav1 knockout (HepCAV1ko) mice were fed a methionine/choline (MCD) deficient diet for 4 weeks. MCD feeding caused severe hepatic steatosis and slight fibrosis. In addition, liver function parameters, i.e., ALT, AST, and GLDH, were elevated, while cholesterol and glucose level were reduced upon MCD feeding. These differences were not affected by hepatocyte-specific Cav1 knockout. Microarray analysis showed strong differences in gene expression profiles of livers from HepCAV1ko mice compared those of global Cav1 knockout animals. Pathway enrichment analysis identified that metabolic alterations were sex-dimorphically regulated by hepatocyte-specific CAV1. In male HepCAV1ko mice, metabolic pathways were suppressed in NAFLD, whereas in female knockout mice induced. Moreover, gender-specific transcription profiles were modulated in healthy animals. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that hepatocyte-specific Cav1 knockout significantly altered gene profiles, did not affect liver steatosis and fibrosis in NAFLD and that gender had severe impact on gene expression patterns in healthy and diseased hepatocyte-specific Cav1 knockout mice.

Authors: M. Han, W. Pioronska, S. Wang, Z. C. Nwosu, C. Sticht, S. Wang, Y. Gao, M. P. Ebert, S. Dooley, C. Meyer

Date Published: 6th Feb 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract

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Authors: Anne Dropmann, Steven Dooley, Bedair Dewidar, Seddik Hammad, Tatjana Dediulia, Julia Werle, Vanessa Hartwig, Shahrouz Ghafoory, Stefan Woelfl, Hanna Korhonen, Michel Janicot, Katja Wosikowski, Timo Itzel, Andreas Teufel, Detlef Schuppan, Ana Stojanovic, Adelheid Cerwenka, Stefanie Nittka, Albrecht Piiper, Timo Gaiser, Naiara Beraza, Malgorzata Milkiewicz, Piotr Milkiewicz, John G Brain, David E J Jones, Thomas S Weiss, Ulrich M Zanger, Matthias Ebert, Nadja M Meindl-Beinker

Date Published: 28th Jan 2020

Publication Type: Not specified

Abstract (Expand)

Liver fibrosis is an advanced liver disease condition, which could progress to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. To date, there is no direct approved antifibrotic therapy, and current treatment is mainly the removal of the causative factor. Transforming growth factor (TGF)-beta is a master profibrogenic cytokine and a promising target to treat fibrosis. However, TGF-beta has broad biological functions and its inhibition induces non-desirable side effects, which override therapeutic benefits. Therefore, understanding the pleiotropic effects of TGF-beta and its upstream and downstream regulatory mechanisms will help to design better TGF-beta based therapeutics. Here, we summarize recent discoveries and milestones on the TGF-beta signaling pathway related to liver fibrosis and hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation, emphasizing research of the last five years. This comprises impact of TGF-beta on liver fibrogenesis related biological processes, such as senescence, metabolism, reactive oxygen species generation, epigenetics, circadian rhythm, epithelial mesenchymal transition, and endothelial-mesenchymal transition. We also describe the influence of the microenvironment on the response of HSC to TGF-beta. Finally, we discuss new approaches to target the TGF-beta pathway, name current clinical trials, and explain promises and drawbacks that deserve to be adequately addressed.

Authors: B. Dewidar, C. Meyer, S. Dooley, A. N. Meindl-Beinker

Date Published: 11th Nov 2019

Publication Type: Not specified

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