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Key Event Title
Activation, Stellate cells
|Level of Biological Organization|
|hepatic stellate cell|
Key Event Components
|hepatic stellate cell activation||hepatic stellate cell||increased|
Key Event Overview
AOPs Including This Key Event
|AOP Name||Role of event in AOP||Point of Contact||Author Status||OECD Status|
|Protein Alkylation to Liver Fibrosis||KeyEvent||Brendan Ferreri-Hanberry (send email)||Open for citation & comment||WPHA/WNT Endorsed|
|lysosomal uptake induced liver fibrosis||KeyEvent||Allie Always (send email)||Under development: Not open for comment. Do not cite||EAGMST Under Review|
|All life stages|
Key Event Description
Stellate cell activation means a transdifferentiation from a quiescent vitamin A–storing cell to a proliferative and contractile myofibroblast. Multiple cells and cytokines play a part in the regulation of hepatic stellate cell (HSC) activation that consists of discrete phenotype responses, mainly proliferation, contractility, fibrogenesis, matrix degradation, chemotaxis, and retinoid loss.
HSCs undergo activation through a two-phase process. The first step, the initiation phase, is triggered by injured hepatocytes, reactive oxygen speecies (ROS) and paracrine stimulation from neighbouring cell types (Kupffer cells (KCs), Liver sinusoidal endothelial cells (LSECs), and platelets) and make HSCs sensitized to activation by up-regulating various receptors. The perpetuation phase refers to the maintenance of HSC activation, which is a dynamic process including the secretion of autocrine and paracrine growth factors (such as TGF-β1), chemokines, and the up-regulation of collagen synthesis (mainly type I collagen). In response to growth factors (including Platelet-derived Growth Factor (PDGF) and Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF)) HSCs proliferate. Increased contractility (Endothelin-1 and NO are the key opposing counter-regulators that control HSC contractility, in addition to angiotensinogen II, and others) leads to increased portal resistance. Driven by chemoattractants their accumulation in areas of injury is enhanced. TGF-β1 synthesis promotes activation of neighbouring quiescent hepatic stellate cells, whereas the release of HGF (hepatocyte growth factor) stimulates regeneration of adjacent hepatocytes. The release of chemoattractants (monocyte chemoattractant protein-1(MCP-1) and colony-stimulating factors (CSFs)) amplifies inflammation (Lee and Friedman; 2011; Friedman, 2010; 2008; 2000; Bataller and Brenner, 2005; ↑ Lotersztain et al., 2005; Poli, 2000). Activated HSCs (myofibroblasts) are the primary collagen producing cell, the key cellular mediators of fibrosis and a nexus for converging inflammatory pathways leading to fibrosis. Experimental inhibition of stellate cell activation prevents fibrosis (Li, Jing-Ting et al.,2008; George et al. (1999).
How It Is Measured or Detected
Alpha-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) is a well-known marker of hepatic stellate cells activation. Anti-alpha smooth muscle Actin [1A4] monoclonal antibody reacts with the alpha smooth muscle isoform of actin.
Gene expression profiling confirmed early changes for known genes related to HSC activation such as alpha smooth muscle actin (Acta2), lysyl oxidase (Lox) and collagen, type I, alpha 1 (Col1a1). Insulin-like growth factor binding protein 3 (Igfbp3) was identified as a gene strongly affected and as marker for culture-activated HSCs and plays a role in HSC migration (Morini et al., 2005; Mannaerts et al., 2013).
Domain of Applicability
Human: Friedman, 2008
Rat: George et al.,1999
Mouse: Chang et al., 2014
Pig: Costa et al., 2001
- Lee, U.E. and S.L. Friedman (2011), Mechanisms of Hepatic Fibrogenesis, Best Pract Res Clin Gastroenterol, vol. 25, no. 2, pp. 195-206.
- Friedman, S.L (2010), Evolving challenges in hepatic fibrosis, Nat. Rev. Gastroenterol. Hepatol, vol. 7, no. 8, pp. 425–436.
- Friedman, S.L. (2008), Mechanisms of Hepatic Fibrogenesis, Gastroenterology, vol. 134, no. 6, pp. 1655–1669.
- Friedman, S.L (2000), Molecular regulation of hepatic fibrosis, an integrated cellular response to tissue injury, J. Biol. Chem, vol. 275, no. 4, pp. 2247-2250.
- Bataller, R. and D.A. Brenner (2005), Liver Fibrosis, J.Clin. Invest, vol. 115, no. 2, pp. 209-218.
- Lotersztain, S. et al. (2005), Hepatic fibrosis: molecular mechanisms and drug targets, Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol, vol. 45, pp. 605–628.
- Poli, G. (2000), Pathogenesis of liver fibrosis: role of oxidative stress, Mol Aspects Med, vol. 21, no. 3, pp. 49 – 98.
- Li, Jing-Ting et al. (2008), Molecular mechanism of hepatic stellate cell activation and antifibrotic therapeutic strategies, J Gastroenterol, vol. 43, no. 6, pp. 419–428.
- George, J. et al. (1999), In vivo inhibition of rat stellate cell activation by soluble transforming growth factor beta type II receptor: a potential new therapy for hepatic fibrosis. Proc Natl Acad Sci, vol. 96, no. 22, pp. 12719-12724.
- Morini, S. et al. (2005), GFAP expression in the liver as an early marker of stellate cells activation, Ital J Anat Embryol, vol. 110, no. 4, pp. 193-207.
- Mannaerts, I. et al. (2013), Gene expression profiling of early hepatic stellate cell activation reveals a role for Igfbp3 in cell migration, PLoS One, vol. 8, no.12, e84071.
- Chang et al., 2014, Isolation and culture of hepatic stellate cells from mouse liver. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai).;46(4):291-8.
- Costa et al., 2001, Early activation of hepatic stellate cells and perisinusoidal extracellular matrix changes during ex vivo pig liver perfusion. J Submicrosc Cytol Pathol.;33(3):231-40.