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CDH11 promotes liver fibrosis via activation of hepatic stellate cells

Ruan, Wanyuan, Pan, Runsang, Shen, Xiaoxu, Nie, Yingjie, Wu, Yayun
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2019 v.508 no.2 pp. 543-549
adherens junctions, carcinogenesis, cell adhesion, extracellular matrix, humans, liver, liver cirrhosis, mice, neoplasms, patients, tissues, transmembrane proteins
Liver fibrosis, an important health condition associated with chronic liver injury that provides a permissive environment for cancer development, is characterized by the persistent deposition of extracellular matrix components that are mainly derived from activated hepatic stellate cells (HSCs). CDH11 belongs to a group of transmembrane proteins that are principally located in adherens junctions. CDH11 mediates homophilic cell-to-cell adhesion, which may promote the development of cirrhosis. The goal of this study was to determine whether CDH11 regulates liver fibrosis and to examine its mechanism by focusing on HSC activation. Here we demonstrate that CDH11 expression is elevated in human and mouse fibrotic liver tissues and that CDH11 mediates the profibrotic response in activated HSCs. Our data indicate that CDH11 regulates the TGFβ-induced activation of HSCs. Moreover, cells from CDH11 deficient mice displayed decreased HSC activation in vitro, and CDH11 deficient mice developed liver fibrogenesis in response to chronic damage induced by CCl4 administration. In addition, CDH11 expression was positively correlated with liver fibrosis in patients with cirrhosis, and could therefore be a prognostic factor in patients with liver fibrosis. Collectively, our findings demonstrate that CDH11 promotes liver fibrosis by activating HSCs and may represent a potential target for anti-fibrotic therapies.