Publications

263 Publications visible to you, out of a total of 263

Abstract (Expand)

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), a hormone generally derived from bone, is important in phosphate and vitamin D homeostasis. In acute kidney injury (AKI) patients, high-circulating FGF23 levels are associated with disease progression and mortality. However, the organ and cell type of FGF23 production in AKI and the molecular mechanism of its excessive production are still unidentified. For insight, we investigated folic acid (FA)-induced AKI in mice. Interestingly, simultaneous with FGF23, orphan nuclear receptor ERR-γ expression is increased in the liver of FA-treated mice, and ectopic overexpression of ERR-γ was sufficient to induce hepatic FGF23 production. In patients and in mice, AKI is accompanied by up-regulated systemic IL-6, which was previously identified as an upstream regulator of ERR-γ expression in the liver. Administration of IL-6 neutralizing antibody to FA-treated mice or of recombinant IL-6 to healthy mice confirms IL-6 as an upstream regulator of hepatic ERR-γ-mediated FGF23 production. A significant (<i>P</i> &lt; 0.001) interconnection between high IL-6 and FGF23 levels as a predictor of AKI in patients that underwent cardiac surgery was also found, suggesting the clinical relevance of the finding. Finally, liver-specific depletion of ERR-γ or treatment with an inverse ERR-γ agonist decreased hepatic FGF23 expression and plasma FGF23 levels in mice with FA-induced AKI. Thus, inverse agonist of ERR-γ may represent a therapeutic strategy to reduce adverse plasma FGF23 levels in AKI.

Authors: Kamalakannan Radhakrishnan, Yong-Hoon Kim, Yoon Seok Jung, Don-Kyu Kim, Soon-Young Na, Daejin Lim, Dong Hun Kim, Jina Kim, Hyung-Seok Kim, Hyon E Choy, Sung Jin Cho, In-Kyu Lee, Şamil Ayvaz, Stefanie Nittka, Danilo Fliser, Stefan J Schunk, Thimoteus Speer, Steven Dooley, Chul-Ho Lee, Hueng-Sik Choi

Date Published: 20th Apr 2021

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Liver macrophages (LMs) play a central role in acute and chronic liver pathologies. Investigation of these processes in humans as well as the development of diagnostic tools and new therapeutic strategies require in vitro models that closely resemble the in vivo situation. In our study, we sought to gain further insight into the role of LMs in different liver pathologies and into their characteristics after isolation from liver tissue. For this purpose, LMs were characterized in human liver tissue sections using immunohistochemistry and bioinformatic image analysis. Isolated cells were characterized in suspension using FACS analyses and in culture using immunofluorescence staining and laser scanning microscopy as well as functional assays. The majority of our investigated liver tissues were characterized by anti-inflammatory LMs which showed a homogeneous distribution and increased cell numbers in correlation with chronic liver injuries. In contrast, pro-inflammatory LMs appeared as temporary and locally restricted reactions. Detailed characterization of isolated macrophages revealed a complex disease dependent pattern of LMs consisting of pro- and anti-inflammatory macrophages of different origins, regulatory macrophages and monocytes. Our study showed that in most cases the macrophage pattern can be transferred in adherent cultures. The observed exceptions were restricted to LMs with pro-inflammatory characteristics.

Authors: Andrea Zimmermann, René Hänsel, Kilian Gemünden, Victoria Kegel-Hübner, Jonas Babel, Hendrik Bläker, Madlen Matz-Soja, Daniel Seehofer, Georg Damm

Date Published: 1st Apr 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)

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver disease in children and adolescents. About 30% of patients with NAFLD progress to the more severe condition of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which is typically diagnosed using liver biopsy. Liver stiffness (LS) quantified by elastography is a promising imaging marker for the noninvasive assessment of NAFLD and NASH in pediatric patients. However, the link between LS and specific histopathologic features used for clinical staging of NAFLD is not well defined. Furthermore, LS data reported in the literature can vary greatly due to the use of different measurement techniques. Uniquely, time-harmonic elastography (THE) based on ultrasound and magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) use the same mechanical stimulation, allowing us to compare LS in biopsy-proven NAFLD previously determined by THE and MRE in 67 and 50 adolescents, respectively. In the present work, we analyzed the influence of seven distinct histopathologic features on LS, including septal infiltration, bridging fibrosis, pericellular fibrosis, hepatocellular ballooning, portal inflammation, lobular inflammation, and steatosis. LS was highly correlated with periportal and lobular fibrosis as well as hepatocellular ballooning while no independent association was found for inflammation and steatosis. Based on this analysis, we propose a composite elastography score (CES) which includes the four key histopathologic features identified as mechanically relevant. Interestingly, CES-relevant histopathologic features were associated with zonal distribution patterns of pediatric NAFLD. Mechano-structural changes associated with NAFLD progression can be histopathologically staged using the CES, which is easily determined noninvasively based on LS measured by time-harmonic elastography.

Authors: C. A. Hudert, H. Tzschatzsch, B. Rudolph, C. Loddenkemper, H. G. Holzhutter, L. Kalveram, S. Wiegand, J. Braun, I. Sack, J. Guo

Date Published: 17th Jan 2021

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a significant health burden in obese children for which there is currently no specific therapy. Preclinical studies indicate that epoxyeicosanoids, a class of bioactive lipid mediators that are generated by cytochrome P450 (CYP) epoxygenases and inactivated by the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH), play a protective role in NAFLD. We performed a comprehensive lipidomics analysis using liver tissue and blood samples of 40 children with NAFLD. Proteomics was performed to determine CYP epoxygenase and sEH expressions. Hepatic epoxyeicosanoids significantly increased with higher grades of steatosis, while their precursor PUFAs were unaltered. Concomitantly, total CYP epoxygenase activity increased while protein level and activity of sEH decreased. In contrast, hepatic epoxyeicosanoids showed a strong decreasing trend with higher stages of fibrosis, accompanied by a decrease of CYP epoxygenase activity and protein expression. These findings suggest that the CYP epoxygenase/sEH pathway represents a potential pharmacologic target for the treatment of NAFLD.

Authors: L. Kalveram, W. H. Schunck, M. Rothe, B. Rudolph, C. Loddenkemper, H. G. Holzhutter, S. Henning, P. Bufler, M. Schulz, D. Meierhofer, I. W. Zhang, K. H. Weylandt, S. Wiegand, C. A. Hudert

Date Published: 4th Jan 2021

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

During pregnancy, the body's hyperestrogenic state alters hepatic metabolism and synthesis. While biochemical changes related to liver function during normal pregnancy are well understood, pregnancy-associated alterations in biophysical properties of the liver remain elusive. In this study, we investigated 26 ex vivo fresh liver specimens harvested from pregnant and non-pregnant rats by diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI) and magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) in a 0.5-Tesla compact magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner. Water diffusivity and viscoelastic parameters were compared with histological data and blood markers. We found livers from pregnant rats to have (i) significantly enlarged hepatocytes (26 +/- 15%, p < 0.001), (ii) increased liver stiffness (12 +/- 15%, p = 0.012), (iii) decreased viscosity (-23 +/- 14%, p < 0.001), and (iv) increased water diffusivity (12 +/- 11%, p < 0.001). In conclusion, increased stiffness and reduced viscosity of the liver during pregnancy are mainly attributable to hepatocyte enlargement. Hypertrophy of liver cells imposes fewer restrictions on intracellular water mobility, resulting in a higher hepatic water diffusion coefficient. Collectively, MRE and DWI have the potential to inform on structural liver changes associated with pregnancy in a clinical context.

Authors: K. Garczynska, H. Tzschatzsch, A. A. Kuhl, A. S. Morr, L. Lilaj, A. Hackel, E. Schellenberger, N. Berndt, H. G. Holzhutter, J. Braun, I. Sack, J. Guo

Date Published: 17th Dec 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

How epithelial cells coordinate their polarity to form functional tissues is an open question in cell biology. Here, we characterize a unique type of polarity found in liver tissue, nematic cell polarity, which is different from vectorial cell polarity in simple, sheet-like epithelia. We propose a conceptual and algorithmic framework to characterize complex patterns of polarity proteins on the surface of a cell in terms of a multipole expansion. To rigorously quantify previously observed tissue-level patterns of nematic cell polarity (Morales-Navarrete et al., eLife 2019), we introduce the concept of co-orientational order parameters, which generalize the known biaxial order parameters of the theory of liquid crystals. Applying these concepts to three-dimensional reconstructions of single cells from high-resolution imaging data of mouse liver tissue, we show that the axes of nematic cell polarity of hepatocytes exhibit local coordination and are aligned with the biaxially anisotropic sinusoidal network for blood transport. Our study characterizes liver tissue as a biological example of a biaxial liquid crystal. The general methodology developed here could be applied to other tissues and in-vitro organoids.

Authors: A. Scholich, S. Syga, H. Morales-Navarrete, F. Segovia-Miranda, H. Nonaka, K. Meyer, W. de Back, L. Brusch, Y. Kalaidzidis, M. Zerial, F. Julicher, B. M. Friedrich

Date Published: 11th Dec 2020

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

Not specified

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 (Expand)

While the role of cholesterol in liver carcinogenesis remains controversial, hepatocellular carcinoma generally prevails in males. Herein, we uncover pathways of female-prevalent progression to hepatocellular carcinoma due to chronic repression of cholesterogenic lanosterol 14alpha-demethylase (CYP51) in hepatocytes. Tumors develop in knock-out mice after year one, with 2:1 prevalence in females. Metabolic and transcription factor networks were deduced from the liver transcriptome data, combined by sterol metabolite and blood parameter analyses, and interpreted with relevance to humans. Female knock-outs show increased plasma cholesterol and HDL, dampened lipid-related transcription factors FXR, LXRalpha:RXRalpha, and importantly, crosstalk between reduced LXRalpha and activated TGF-beta signalling, indicating a higher susceptibility to HCC in aging females. PI3K/Akt signalling and ECM-receptor interaction are common pathways that are disturbed by sex-specific altered genes. Additionally, transcription factors (SOX9)2 and PPARalpha were recognized as important for female hepatocarcinogenesis, while overexpressed Cd36, a target of nuclear receptor RORC, is a new male-related regulator of ECM-receptor signalling in hepatocarcinogenesis. In conclusion, we uncover the sex-dependent metabolic reprogramming of cholesterol-related pathways that predispose for hepatocarcinogenesis in aging females. This is important in light of increased incidence of liver cancers in post-menopausal women.

Authors: K. B. Cokan, Z. Urlep, G. Lorbek, M. Matz-Soja, C. Skubic, M. Perse, J. Jeruc, P. Juvan, T. Rezen, D. Rozman

Date Published: 9th Nov 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

A multitude of pharmacokinetics studies have been published. However, due to the lack of an open database, pharmacokinetics data, as well as the corresponding meta-information, have been difficult to access. We present PK-DB (https://pk-db.com), an open database for pharmacokinetics information from clinical trials. PK-DB provides curated information on (i) characteristics of studied patient cohorts and subjects (e.g. age, bodyweight, smoking status, genetic variants); (ii) applied interventions (e.g. dosing, substance, route of application); (iii) pharmacokinetic parameters (e.g. clearance, half-life, area under the curve) and (iv) measured pharmacokinetic time-courses. Key features are the representation of experimental errors, the normalization of measurement units, annotation of information to biological ontologies, calculation of pharmacokinetic parameters from concentration-time profiles, a workflow for collaborative data curation, strong validation rules on the data, computational access via a REST API as well as human access via a web interface. PK-DB enables meta-analysis based on data from multiple studies and data integration with computational models. A special focus lies on meta-data relevant for individualized and stratified computational modeling with methods like physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK), pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD), or population pharmacokinetic (pop PK) modeling.

Authors: J. Grzegorzewski, J. Brandhorst, K. Green, D. Eleftheriadou, Y. Duport, F. Barthorscht, A. Koller, D. Y. J. Ke, S. De Angelis, M. Konig

Date Published: 5th Nov 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

PURPOSE: With abdominal magnetic resonance elastography (MRE) often suffering from breathing artifacts, it is recommended to perform MRE during breath-hold. However, breath-hold acquisition prohibits extended multifrequency MRE examinations and yields inconsistent results when patients cannot hold their breath. The purpose of this work was to analyze free-breathing strategies in multifrequency MRE of abdominal organs. METHODS: Abdominal MRE with 30, 40, 50, and 60 Hz vibration frequencies and single-shot, multislice, full wave-field acquisition was performed four times in 11 healthy volunteers: once with multiple breath-holds and three times during free breathing with ungated, gated, and navigated slice adjustment. Shear wave speed maps were generated by tomoelastography inversion. Image registration was applied for correction of intrascan misregistration of image slices. Sharpness of features was quantified by the variance of the Laplacian. RESULTS: Total scan times ranged from 120 seconds for ungated free-breathing MRE to 376 seconds for breath-hold examinations. As expected, free-breathing MRE resulted in larger organ displacements (liver, 4.7 +/- 1.5 mm; kidneys, 2.4 +/- 2.2 mm; spleen, 3.1 +/- 2.4 mm; pancreas, 3.4 +/- 1.4 mm) than breath-hold MRE (liver, 0.7 +/- 0.2 mm; kidneys, 0.4 +/- 0.2 mm; spleen, 0.5 +/- 0.2 mm; pancreas, 0.7 +/- 0.5 mm). Nonetheless, breathing-related displacement did not affect mean shear wave speed, which was consistent across all protocols (liver, 1.43 +/- 0.07 m/s; kidneys, 2.35 +/- 0.21 m/s; spleen, 2.02 +/- 0.15 m/s; pancreas, 1.39 +/- 0.15 m/s). Image registration before inversion improved the quality of free-breathing examinations, yielding no differences in image sharpness to uncorrected breath-hold MRE in most organs (P > .05). CONCLUSION: Overall, multifrequency MRE is robust to breathing when considering whole-organ values. Respiration-related blurring can readily be corrected using image registration. Consequently, ungated free-breathing MRE combined with image registration is recommended for multifrequency MRE of abdominal organs.

Authors: M. Shahryari, T. Meyer, C. Warmuth, H. Herthum, G. Bertalan, H. Tzschatzsch, L. Stencel, S. Lukas, L. Lilaj, J. Braun, I. Sack

Date Published: 26th Oct 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Metabolic reprogramming is a characteristic feature of cancer cells, but there is no unique metabolic program for all tumors. Genetic and gene expression studies have revealed heterogeneous inter- and intratumor patterns of metabolic enzymes and membrane transporters. The functional implications of this heterogeneity remain often elusive. Here, we applied a systems biology approach to gain a comprehensive and quantitative picture of metabolic changes in individual hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We used protein intensity profiles determined by mass spectrometry in samples of 10 human HCCs and the adjacent noncancerous tissue to calibrate Hepatokin1, a complex mathematical model of liver metabolism. We computed the 24-h profile of 18 metabolic functions related to carbohydrate, lipid, and nitrogen metabolism. There was a general tendency among the tumors toward downregulated glucose uptake and glucose release albeit with large intertumor variability. This finding calls into question that the Warburg effect dictates the metabolic phenotype of HCC. All tumors comprised elevated beta-oxidation rates. Urea synthesis was found to be consistently downregulated but without compromising the tumor's capacity for ammonia detoxification owing to increased glutamine synthesis. The largest intertumor heterogeneity was found for the uptake and release of lactate and the size of the cellular glycogen content. In line with the observed metabolic heterogeneity, the individual HCCs differed largely in their vulnerability against pharmacological treatment with metformin. Taken together, our approach provided a comprehensive and quantitative characterization of HCC metabolism that may pave the way for a computational a priori assessment of pharmacological therapies targeting metabolic processes of HCC.

Authors: N. Berndt, J. Eckstein, N. Heucke, T. Wuensch, R. Gajowski, M. Stockmann, D. Meierhofer, H. G. Holzhutter

Date Published: 8th Oct 2020

Publication Type: Journal

Abstract (Expand)

Liver diseases are important causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. The aim of this study was to identify differentially expressed microRNAs (miRNAs), target genes, and key pathways as innovative diagnostic biomarkers in liver patients with different pathology and functional state. We determined, using RT-qPCR, the expression of 472 miRNAs in 125 explanted livers from subjects with six different liver pathologies and from control livers. ANOVA was employed to obtain differentially expressed miRNAs (DEMs), and miRDB (MicroRNA target prediction database) was used to predict target genes. A miRNA-gene differential regulatory (MGDR) network was constructed for each condition. Key miRNAs were detected using topological analysis. Enrichment analysis for DEMs was performed using the Database for Annotation, Visualization, and Integrated Discovery (DAVID). We identified important DEMs common and specific to the different patient groups and disease progression stages. hsa-miR-1275 was universally downregulated regardless the disease etiology and stage, while hsa-let-7a*, hsa-miR-195, hsa-miR-374, and hsa-miR-378 were deregulated. The most significantly enriched pathways of target genes controlled by these miRNAs comprise p53 tumor suppressor protein (TP53)-regulated metabolic genes, and those involved in regulation of methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 (MECP2) expression, phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) messenger RNA (mRNA) translation and copper homeostasis. Our findings show a novel panel of deregulated miRNAs in the liver tissue from patients with different liver pathologies. These miRNAs hold potential as biomarkers for diagnosis and staging of liver diseases.

Authors: M. Gholizadeh, S. Szelag-Pieniek, M. Post, M. Kurzawski, J. Prieto, J. Argemi, M. Drozdzik, L. Kaderali

Date Published: 6th Oct 2020

Publication Type: Journal

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