Abstract

BACKGROUND:
Progression of liver fibrosis is characterized by synthesis and degradation of extracellular matrix (ECM). Matrix-metalloproteinases (MMP) cleave collagen fibers at a specific site and thereby generate soluble fragments of ECM (neo-epitopes). The levels of these neo-epitopes might reflect the stage of liver fibrosis and may allow monitoring of anti-fibrotic therapies. Here we analyzed these neo-epitopes as read-out for a liver directed therapy with statins.

METHODS:
Bile duct ligation (BDL) was performed on wild type rats, which received atorvastatin (15 mg/kg(*)d) for 1 week starting at 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 weeks after BDL (T1-T5), while controls remained untreated. Hepatic fibrosis was analyzed by immunohistochemistry and hepatic hydroxyproline content. TGFβ levels were measured by RT-PCR. Proteolytic activity of MMP-2 was examined by zymography. Levels of degradation MMP driven type I, III, IV and VI collagen degradation (C1M, C3M, C4M, and C6M) and type III and IV collagen formation (PRO-C3 and P4NP7S) markers were assessed by specific ELISAs in serum probes.

RESULTS:
Serum markers of ECM neo-epitopes reflected significantly the deposition of ECM in the liver and were able to distinguish between early (T1-T3) and severe fibrosis (T4-T5). Statin treatment resulted in reduction of neo-epitope markers, especially when therapy was started in the stage of severe fibrosis (T4-T5). Furthermore, these markers correlated with hepatic expression of profibrotic cytokines TGFβ1 and TGFβ2. Formation markers of type III and IV collagen (PRO-C3 and P4NP7S) and degradation markers C4M and C6M correlated significantly with hepatic MMP-2 activity in rats with severe fibrosis.

CONCLUSION:
Determination of ECM remodeling turnover markers in serum allowed a distinction between mild and severe fibrosis. With respect to statin therapy, the markers may serve as read-out for efficacy of anti-fibrotic treatment

Go to full publication

Categories

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions or other inquiries.

Are you interested in learning more about Nordic Bioscience?
Enter your information in the form and a representative will contact you shortly.

By submitting this form you agree to our terms and conditions.

We use cookies on our site to enable essential services and functionalities, and collect data in regards to visitor information to provide the best possible experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and our cookies usage. Cookie Policy Privacy Statement