Knockdown of Astrocyte Elevated Gene-1 Inhibits Activation of Hepatic Stellate Cells
Astrocyte elevated gene-1 (AEG-1) is a positive regulator of tumorigenesis and a valuable prognostic marker of a diverse array of cancers, including liver cancer; however, the relationship between AEG-1 and hepatic fibrogenesis is not known.
The objective of this study was to explore the expression of AEG-1 during hepatic fibrogenesis and determine how AEG-1 regulates the profibrogenic phenotype of hepatic stellate cells (HSCs).
The levels of AEG-1 were monitored in the fibrotic livers and transforming growth factor-β (TGF-β)- or lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated HSCs. The expression of AEG-1 was knocked down by lentivirus-mediated short hairpin RNA in HSCs, and collagen expression, proliferation assays, apoptosis induction studies, and migration assays were simultaneously conducted in vitro.
AEG-1 expression was increased in the fibrotic livers. At the cellular level, TGF-β or LPS stimulation, which caused HSC activation, induced AEG-1 expression in HSC-T6 and primary rat HSCs (P < 0.05). Knockdown of AEG-1 inhibited collagen I and α-smooth muscle actin expression (P < 0.05), reduced cell proliferation (P < 0.05) and motility (P < 0.05), and induced cell apoptosis (P < 0.05) in HSCs. This antifibrotic effect caused by lack of AEG-1 was associated with the inactivation of PI3K/Akt and the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway.
Knockdown of AEG-1 suppressed the activation of HSCs by modulating the phenotype and inducing apoptosis. AEG-1 might be a potential target in treatment of hepatic fibrosis.
KeywordsAstrocyte elevated gene-1 Liver fibrosis Hepatic stellate cell Activation
This study was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 81170411).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflicts of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest associated with this study.
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